“One by One” we can end homelessness

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How many people will we find when we go out onto the early morning streets of Perth in mid May?

How long will some people have been on the streets?

How unwell will some of these people be?

In August 2012 Ruah coordinated the first Registry Week event in Perth, where about 80 volunteers went onto the very cold streets of Perth at 4 am for three mornings in a row to find people who were homeless. This was not just a counting exercise, it’s purpose was to interview people using a tool which helps to identify the most vulnerable people. We were then working out who most urgently needs housing and support and deciding who was going to follow up on them.

In 2011 we had a collaboration of Ruah, Anglicare, St Bart’s, Noongar Patrol, UnitingCareWest,  Mobile GP, Salvo’s, City of Perth, City of Vincent, Dept. of Child Protection, Dept. of Health, Dept. of Housing, and Police. We also had staff from several other organisations come along and volunteer. It’s great to see all these groups be part of the 2014 Registry Week.

The Registry Week “movement” started in the US and has spread around the world, including around Australia. We have been very fortunate to have great partners from around Australia and from the US who have helped us to plan for this event, including Micah Projects (Qld), Mercy Foundation (NSW), HomeGround (Vic), and Community Solutions (US). The generous collaboration at a local, national, and international level is very heartening – it wasn’t that long ago that we all seemed to be doing our own thing.

A Few Stats from Perth Registry Week 2012

  • 185 people – 158 agreed to be interviewed
  • Average time homeless – 7.6 years
  • 28% homeless for more than 10 years
  • 59% assessed as having vulnerable health
  • 3 people at severe health risk
  • Average age was 37 years
  • 23% under 25 years of age
  • 36% were Aboriginal people
  • Very high levels of mental illness (57%) and substance use (85%)
  • 32% were in care as kids
  • 61% had been in prison
  • 57% had been a victim of crime