WA authorities to shut down homeless camp

Michael RamseyAAP
Western Australia's government has moved to shut down a troubled homeless camp in Fremantle.
Camera IconWestern Australia's government has moved to shut down a troubled homeless camp in Fremantle.

*Pics available*

Homeless people at Fremantle's tent city have been offered temporary hotel stays as the West Australian government moves to shut down the troubled camp.

The move has been panned by advocates who say the Labor government has failed to address the crisis in any lasting way.

It comes after police linked a number of serious crimes, including assaults and child sex offences, to the Pioneer Park camp which is home to about 100 people.

Premier Mark McGowan on Friday renewed his criticism of "anarchists" who he blames for establishing the camp, located opposite the office of Communities Minister Simone McGurk, as a political stunt ahead of the March election.

"They've been pulling people out of supported accommodation with false promises and putting them in this campsite," he told reporters.

"It's a rotten exploitation of vulnerable and needy people that the organisers have engaged in here."

WA's Department of Communities confirmed it had offered rough sleepers emergency accommodation in response to "serious and growing public safety issues".

"Every person who is willing to accept support and is sleeping rough at Pioneer Park is being offered appropriate accommodation," director general Michelle Andrews said in a statement.

"Accommodation will be provided through a range of sources, with Communities working with individuals to provide appropriate accommodation to suit their needs."

Ms Andrews said the government-funded St Patrick's support centre was providing ongoing services in Fremantle and six people had been supported to return to country.

"Communities continues to remind the public that state government-funded homelessness services are best placed to get people experiencing homelessness the long-term solutions they need," she said.

"These services can offer both the necessary relationships and longer-term proven capacity to deliver assistance to those who need help."

House the Homeless WA spokesman Jesse Noakes said there had been a systemic failure by the McGowan government to address the state's housing crisis.

"One week's accommodation is not a solution to homelessness. It is a road to nowhere," he said.

Mr Noakes said 40 vulnerable people had died on the streets of Perth last year.

About 15,000 people are on the public housing waitlist and more than 1000 are living on the streets, according to Shelter WA.

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