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Shadow Housing Minister calls for ‘emergency response’ to fill beds after another homeless man dies

Article image for Shadow Housing Minister calls for ‘emergency response’ to fill beds after another homeless man dies

Shadow Minister for Housing Steve Martin has called for an “emergency response” to get beds filled in the Boorloo Bidee Mia homeless shelter after a man was found dead in the street outside the facility.

Police are investigating the circumstances in which the man, believed to be in his 50s, died outside a car park at the intersection of Wellington and Pier streets, just metres from the newly opened homeless shelter.

The Shadow Minister told Mark Gibson on 6PR Breakfast he’s almost lost count of the amount of times he’s asked the government to provide information on how many beds are being used at the facility.

“I asked, quite simply, does the facility keep a record of how many people are residing at the facility each night, and the government couldn’t answer that question,” he told Mark Gibson on 6PR Breakfast.

“This facility was built, apparently, to meet some of the enormous need in our city, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why there hasn’t been an emergency response to get those beds filled.” ‘

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In response Community Services Minister Simone McGurk released the following statement:

“Boorloo Bidee Mia is open, and the service provider is prioritising the safety and wellbeing of residents and the community as the service scales up in coming months. While currently operational and servicing clients, the facility is still undergoing building works to enable full-service capacity. But the total number of residents accommodated is also determined by the support and safety needs of residents.

It is important to note that the number of people in Boorloo Bidee Mia is not static. Significantly, in the first few weeks of operation, two clients were transitioned into longer-term public housing accommodation.

Boorloo Bidee Mia was not designed to be a boarding house – it was announced as a specialist facility that will be scaled up safely over time to give people experiencing homelessness a pathway to longer-term housing. It is the first low-barrier homelessness service of its kind offering medium-term accommodation for some of the most complex individuals, many of whom have experienced long-term homelessness.

The referral process for Boorloo Bidee Mia is led by a group of service providers and agencies, working collaboratively as the Homelessness Integrated Action Group, which identifies appropriate candidates.

The Boorloo Bidee Mia referral process differs from a ‘walk-in’ or ‘drop-in’ shelter model, as it seeks to provide longer-term accommodation together with individualised, wraparound supports that promote a therapeutic model to aide transition into permanent, stable living arrangements.

To ensure this model is appropriately managed, referrals are being processed through community service groups engaged in the Homelessness Integrated Action Group.

The referral model further assists in ensuring the mix of people engaged is carefully selected to ensure the facility can be managed safely.

While the final configuration will provide up to 100 beds, the total number of residents accommodated at Boorloo Bidee Mia at any given time will be dependent on the support needs of residents, with the delivery of a safe, culturally appropriate and effective service being a priority at all times. The service will continue to expand its capacity.”

Image: iStock by Getty