People gathered on 7 August at the State Library as the Hon Simone McGurk, Minister for Community Services, launched the book "When there’s no place to call home: Stories of people who have experienced homelessness in WA." The Department of Communities has been working to compile the collection of stories which were gathered as part of the consultation process for the development of the Western Australian 10-year strategy on homelessness.
The people who shared their stories in the book are from different places across the state and their experiences show how complex and personal the circumstances are that lead to someone experiencing life without a home.
As part of the creation of the book, the homelessness team at Communities took a camera with on visits to services and various locations to meet with those who agreed to share their stories and have their voices heard. The striking photos add to the words of the individuals in the book and build a personal connection to the people and their experiences. Some people chose to have images of objects which represented something to them and some were happy to have their portrait included in the book.
Holly Rose, who shared her story in the publication, spoke at the launch event about her experience with homelessness, noting that, “This book offers a platform for those of us with lived experience to have our voices elevated and heard and we can truly make a difference. This book offers a platform for our voices to be heard by people experiencing homelessness. And hopefully this book allows them to see that there is a light at the end of the gruelling scary tunnel and it is so bright.”
Image (L-R): Georgia A with Holly Rose, who features in the book. Both attended the launch at the State Library in Perth.
Ms Michelle Andrews, Director General of the Department of Communities, added a call to action, “For all of us as individuals and in the organisations we work in, that we don’t walk out of the door today going back and doing business as usual. It is about working differently, thinking differently and tackling this problem with new ideas, innovation and determination to make Western Australia a better place and to end homelessness.”
The State Library offered a warm welcome and assistance for anyone who wanted to sign up to become a member and use the free services, knowing that it can often be difficult for those without a fixed address to sign up for services.
The experiences of those who shared their stories, along with the stories of others who chose not to be included in the publication, will be used to inform the development of the 10-year strategy on homelessness. The whole-of-government plan will outline our state’s approach to responding to and preventing homelessness.
A digital version of the book is available here. The Western Australian 10-year strategy on homelessness is expected to be finalised towards the end of the year
If you know someone who is homeless, or are at risk of homelessness, please visit the Department’s homeless support page.