Deaths spark outreach plea

Cecilia AllenSound Telegraph
Australian Homeless Advocate chief executive officer Owen Farmer.
Camera IconAustralian Homeless Advocate chief executive officer Owen Farmer. Credit: Cecilia Allen.

A homeless advocate in Rockingham has encouraged “those doing it tough” to reach out and access services in the area.

Australian Homeless Advocate chief executive Owen Farmer said he was “saddened” by the loss of a homeless man living in Rockingham and the death of a woman “living rough” in the area.

Police have confirmed a 39-year-old man died at a Shoalwater address on March 17, from an apparent drug overdose, while a 43-year-old woman died at a Port Kennedy address, also from an apparent drug overdose on March 23.

It is believed the two persons were or had recently been partners. Both deaths are being investigated by the Coronial Investigation Squad.

Mr Farmer said depression was high among the homeless and a lot turned to drugs and alcohol as a result. “There is hope and if we can get people into the right channels,” he said.

Mr Farmer said people coming out of incarceration often lived “rough” and were “rejected by society”.

“I want to see these people access the facilities we have. I believe in having a sponsor, a sponsor who looks after that homeless person,” he said.

Catalpa Homeless Foundation was launched last year by Michael Kiernan, who has been campaigning to establish a shelter facility that will eventually see people helped into employment and permanent accommodation.

“The idea has had significant political support,” he said. “As far as land being made available, that is something I’m looking into to.”

Mr Kiernan said in addition to providing short-term and long-term accommodation, he also hoped to establish a market garden, support and outreach programs, and vocational training and employment opportunities.

Rockingham Salvation Army offers a range of community services at its centre of HOPE on Willmott Drive.

Capt. Darrell Wilsonsaid the Rockingham Salvation Army also had an outreach support service with a specific focus on those experiencing homelessness in the areas of Rockingham and Kwinana.

“Our outreach workers go out into the community with the aim of helping people to access the services they may need especially mental health and addiction services,” he said.

The Salvation Army phone line for any members of the public who have concerns about people experiencing homelessness is 0437 258 511.

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