Community-driven project already leading to more accurate data about extent of Albany homelessness issues

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
Advance Housing's Gilbert Arlandoo and Kai McKenna welcomed people to the Albany Connection Point session on May 3.
Camera IconAdvance Housing's Gilbert Arlandoo and Kai McKenna welcomed people to the Albany Connection Point session on May 3. Credit: Advance Housing

A community-led effort to establish a better understanding the issue of homelessness in Albany has moved on to the next phase after a successful first data-gathering session.

More than 80 participants representing 130 people dealing with homelessness provided details about their experiences at an Albany Connection Point information gathering session last month.

The session was hosted by Advance Housing, who have partnered with Albany Youth Support Association, Anglicare WA, Albany Community Foundation, Southern Aboriginal Corporation, Albany Community Legal Centre and Pivot Support Services on the project.

Support has also being provided by the Office of Homelessness, Department of Communities, the City of Albany, WA Police and the Great Southern Aboriginal Health Service.

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Advance Housing chief executive John Lysaught said the session was a success because it provided proof the problem was bigger than government data suggested.

“Participating community organisations have always held that the problem is bigger than recognised by government for our region,” he said.

“This single initial collaborative event has shown in 12 hours just how flawed the previous data was.”

He said the session showed there was a larger proportion of people aged 20 to 39 experiencing homelessness than expected given the broader Albany demographic.

He also said it highlighted the massive problem rough sleeping which has been a “largely hidden” and that people would engage with a services if they were provided a safe space to do so.

“(The session) also provided access to a hot meal, flu and COVID vaccines, private discussions with services for support, access to warm clothing, direct referrals to support services, and importantly acknowledgement of their circumstance “ Mr Lysaught said.

Further sessions designed to engage with those affected by homelessness will be organised so that the organisations involved can better advocate for funding to tackle the issue and target their limited resources to area they are most needed.

“We collectively remain committed to a collaborative approach to addressing homelessness in Albany,” Mr Lysaught said.

“AHL and our partners are developing a submission to have a By Name list/Advance to Zero initiative funded for Albany to ensure that we can. . . work to reduce the problem for our community.

“Hopefully it will ensure that this community is resourced properly to address the need.”

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