We see them every day. Perth’s homeless people sleeping in the streets, begging for spare change, and lining up for the soup kitchen, writes Kate Hedley at WA Today.
Described as a “plague” and a “blight” on the city, the homeless we have spoken to say they feel dehumanised by public discourse that fails to go to the source when discussing the crisis that sees thousands sleeping rough every night.
Part 1 of WAtoday’s four-part series speaks to just two of the people on Perth streets who have nowhere else to go.
‘It’s safer to sleep during the day’
Vicki can’t talk for long.
Her boyfriend is calling either her or me a “f—ing maggot”, and I’m not that keen on finding out who he’s directing the comment to.
He’s been at McDonald’s, charging his phone on the fast food giant’s purse.
Vicki sits guard beside the pair’s worldly possessions; a shopping trolley full of blankets and clothes, a few snacks, and a toiletries bag.
“Sorry it’s a bit messy,” she says.
The 29-year-old has been sleeping rough for four years.
Trouble at home saw the couple head to Perth, but life’s not much better here.
“We usually try to sleep undercover somewhere,” she says as she rolls a cigarette from what’s left of others’ butts.
“It’s safer to sleep during the day.”
Vicki’s tale is not unlike others who live in the central business district park: they’re escaping violence at home, in the grip of crippling addictions, or they have mental health issues.
I’ve got just enough time to let Vicki know of a fresh strategy launching in Perth this week to combat homelessness in WA.
“That sort of shit usually lasts about a day,” she says.