Lockers for homeless

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
Bunbury 13-year-old Bella Burgemeister checks out the new lockers for the homeless.
Camera IconBunbury 13-year-old Bella Burgemeister checks out the new lockers for the homeless. Credit: Kate Fielding

A Rockingham councillor hopes her bid to get lockers for homeless people will get the green light.

Cr Hayley Edwards’ idea to provide a secure storage solution for the homeless by allowing them to store belongings in a locker for up to 24 hours is expected to be voted on by council later this month.

If successful, the lockers would be accessible by a four-digit PIN number, known only to the user, and allocated on a first- in, first-served basis.

Cr Edwards earmarked the Rockingham foreshore or the City precinct as suitable sites for the lockers but stressed chosen locations should be already covered by CCTV security.

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“Individuals become homeless for myriad reasons, some of which can be prevented, some that can’t,” she said. “This motion is aimed at breaking down some of the logistical and physical barriers people sleeping rough are facing daily.

“Rough sleepers generally carry their belongings with them 24/7, having no safe place to leave or store valuables whilst they are seeking assistance or wrap around services.”

City of Rockingham councillor Hayley Edwards,
Camera IconCity of Rockingham councillor Hayley Edwards, Credit: Pic: City of Rockingham

She said theft was “ubiquitous” for people on the streets and having a secure locker to store sleeping gear and valuables would “markedly lessen the burden for them if they are trying to access assistance”.

A similar appeal by then 12-year-old Bunbury girl Bella Burgemeister, pictured, was given the tick of approval by the City of Bunbury in December 2017, with council later committing $30,000 to install 24 community lockers at three separate locations.

Cr Edwards is also calling on the City to upgrade one existing public shower in Rockingham — preferably close to the site of the lockers — to include hot water.

She said rough sleepers had limited access to showers, due to non-for-profit groups’ operating hours, not opening on weekends, being closed on public holidays, and limited to business hours only.

“A warm/hot public shower that is available daily would assist a rough sleeper immensely and improve the health, hygiene and quality of life for so many individuals,” Ms Edwards said.

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