445. Hon ALISON XAMON to the Leader of the House representing the Minister for Community Services:
I refer to the Hotels with Heart trial.
(1) Given the trial has been discontinued, what other options are currently being considered to house rough sleepers in Perth?
(2) In the event of increased community transmission of COVID-19, what measures will be put in place to keep rough sleepers safe?
Hon SUE ELLERY replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1)–(2) The Hotels with Heart pilot was established as a four-week trial, with the Western Australian government working collaboratively with community sector partners and Pan Pacific Perth to provide rapid assistance to the most vulnerable members of the community. It tested a new model that could be scaled up if community transmission of COVID-19 became widespread and health advice required rough sleepers to self-isolate to avoid contracting the virus. The Department of Communities, in partnership with community sector partners, is undertaking scenario planning to ensure preparedness in the event of future community transmission, including the identification of appropriate accommodation and supports. The Department of Communities contributes more than $90 million towards homelessness services each year, and continues to work with its community sector partners to identify and service the needs of rough sleepers and help people experiencing homelessness into long-term accommodation, consistent with Communities’ housing-first approach. In addition, the McGowan government recently announced a $222 million housing and homelessness stimulus package to increase housing supply and introduce new homelessness support services and accommodation. The Department of Communities is fast-tracking these projects where possible to ensure a swift delivery of additional supports.