An event to put a human face on homelessness will be held in Fremantle tomorrow as part of Homelessness Week.
Couch Conversations – a collaboration between St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, Uniting Care West and the City of Fremantle – will feature ten people with lived experience of homelessness who will be willing and available to share their stories with people passing by.
The event will be held between 10am and 12 noon in a relaxed and friendly lounge setting that will be set up in High Street Mall.
St Pats Chief Executive Michael Piu said a similar event held last year was a very positive experience for everyone involved.
“One of the common things we hear from people who are homeless is that they feel invisible and ignored – that people just walk past and look the other way,” Mr Piu said.
“Couch Conversations is a really great way to show that people who are homeless are real people with real stories to tell.
“Last year the City of Fremantle set up the lovely lounge setting outside the shops in High Street Mall – with sofas, a side table and rug – and St Pats supported ten clients with lived experience of homelessness to tell their stories to interested passers-by.
“The aim was to increase awareness of the issue, what is being done to reduce homelessness in Fremantle and how people can help out.
“Because of its success last year we’re repeating the event, but this time we’re inviting Uniting Care West to join us with their clients and staff.”
Couch Conversations follows the launch earlier this week of the 20 Lives 20 Homes program, which is two-year initiative to provide housing and wrap-around support to people sleeping rough in Fremantle.
The program will be coordinated by Ruah Community Services in conjunction with St Pats, Fremantle Foundation and the City of Fremantle.
Almost $1 million has been raised by the private sector to support the program, with the state government contributing $395,000 over two years and the City of Fremantle committing $40,000 this year with a further $40,000 proposed for next year.
The City of Fremantle also supports St Pats through the Donate Without Doubt program which has raised more than $17,000.
The City also provides $20,000 to the Freo Street Doctor, $15,000 to the South West Metropolitan Partnership Forum, as well as supporting events like the Reclink Street Games, St Pats Christmas Lunch and the Long Table Dinner.
To watch a video from Couch Conversations last year, click here.
To watch a video about Donate Without Doubt, click here.