Homeless couple face tough penalty

Hayley Goddard, SOUND TELEGRAPHSound Telegraph

A homeless couple are facing a fine they may not be able to pay, for parking on a City of Rockingham reserve which they claim they did not know was prohibited.

Describing themselves as victims of circumstances beyond their control, Rochelle and Brian, who did not want their surnames printed, said they were trying to get their life on track.

In an effort to avoid conflict, the pair opted to move away from other homeless people in Rockingham last week and took refuge at Lewington Reserve.

On Wednesday, City rangers issued them with an infringement.

Mayor Barry Sammels accepted homelessness in the City had been an issue and was working with the Rockingham/Kwinana Inter-Agency Homelessness Group to better support those sleeping rough.

He said the City supported the homeless through its Community Safety Service, which provided information and handout cards.

Rochelle said the couple were unaware parking at the reserve was illegal.

"We're isolated from the road, not fighting or leaving rubbish - I'm here trying to protect myself because I've been through severe anxiety," she said.

"We are trying to help ourselves, it's not a choice I choose."

Brian said he was working for the dole but looking for a more permanent solution so they could find a house.

Mr Sammels accepted there were no outreach services in the City and the nearest facility was in Fremantle or Perth.

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