When will the cries of the homeless be heard? Is there some sort of grotesque caste system in Western Australia? The anti-humanism is a brutal public spectacle. On the last day of January, the Western Australian Government actuated five days of effective quarantine of the Perth and Peel regions to reduce the risk the of a more contagious strain of coronavirus spreading. But the street homeless are left without a roof over their heads.
The rough sleepers of the Perth and Peel regions number close to 1,000.
Western Australia was alarmed by the positive test of a citizen to the more highly contagious UK strain of the coronavirus. So alarmed, in Perth, Peel and the South West, schools were closed, most citizens must stay home, everyone when in public must wear face masks.
The UK strain of the coronavirus has been argued as a ‘super spreader’ among clusters of people. The street homeless try and survive in clusters. Are they not the most-at-risk?
How seriously are we to take the Western Australian Labor Government’s austere lockdown which has barbed virtual borders around Perth, Greater Perth and Peel from the rest of the State when they remain repugnant obstinate in stranding the homeless to the streets? The near 1,000 street homeless are left to languish as if an ostracised leper colony. It’s a merciless Orwellian nightmare, a grim Dickensian tale.
Why does the nation’s wealthiest State, one of the world’s wealthiest regions, fail the street homeless at every twist and turn? It is fact, during Covid19, and in general over the years, Western Australia has done less for the street homeless than every other State and Territory. This exceptionalism makes no sense, as Western Australia, proportionally is the nation’s wealthiest region, a powerhouse economy, with State budget surpluses year after year.
Everyone has been ordered to wear face masks when outside their homes but have the street homeless face masks and will they wear them? If one street homeless person were to contract an acute coronavirus contagion, would it not be spread?
It is heartless, criminal, brutally anti-humanist to languish the street homeless as if lepers and invalidate them as if they’re next-to-nothing. Yet, this is happening, right before our eyes.
What happens if a street homeless soul contracts the UK strain? The street homeless weather a lot of pain, ailments, debilitation before they see a doctor, or if it all. Many of the street homeless I know do not visit health professionals.
As the street homeless are among our most vulnerable sisters and brothers, health-wise, with comorbidity and many with acute respiratory illnesses. If one of them contracts the contagion, it will spread. Is there some sort of morbid hope the homeless are killed off by the virus? This would be genocide. I do not believe this, but I do sense heartlessness.
It is estimated five percent of our street homeless die each year on the streets. Last year on Perth streets we lost 40 souls; they died on the streets. Carted to morgues, pauper funerals.
If the contagion hits the streets, with a super spread, we could lose many more this year. We have got to house the homeless. You’d think!
Our humble service has for years supported many of Perth’s street homeless and many are scared, while others have long given up hope. Many feel they do not matter to the rest of society.
Where is the love? Where is the humanity?
Since the Western Australian Labor Government came to power four years ago, they have gone backwards with social housing – less homes than when they started. Over 1,200 less public housing properties. The State Government has only brought about 24 social housing properties in the past year. Officially, at least, 24,000 people remain on the wait-list. At this rate, it will take only 1,000 years!
There are also nearly 900 social housing properties vacant and this is an indictment of a Government betraying the most vulnerable. Thereabouts 700 of the properties are now undergoing maintenance works we are led to believe. Since December, three have been allocated! 156 of the properties are listed as available. It is a slow burn, slow crawl with this Government.
Western Australia is fast becoming the nation’s backwater, already an embarrassment.
We must see society, one another, from many eyes. We must speak what the heart sees, knows.
I have written widely on a genuine housing first approach and the supports needed for the one in five street homeless who will need a modicum of psychosocial assists to thrive once housed. Housing security, for everyone, should be an immutable societal accord.