Perth Lord Mayor candidate, Di Bain, has outlined her plans to alleviate homelessness in the Western Australian capital after launching her campaign this week.

One of now six candidates for the top spot, Bain is a small business owner, Chair of not-for-profit organisation Activate Perth, board member of Perth Zoo, and Commissioner of Tourism WA.

Launching her campaign during Homelessness Week, Bain believes more immediate change is needed for Perth’s homeless—over 40 per cent of which are First Nations.

“These are our brothers, our sisters, our mothers, our fathers. They are part of our community and we need to look out for each other,” Bain said.

“We need to work with Aboriginal groups more closely, including Nyoongar Outreach, to make sure that we’re focusing and coordinating better [to address] the challenges associated with Indigenous [people] on the streets.”

Bain told NIT she recently met with Noongar Elders Uncle Ben Taylor and Aunty Mingli McGlade to discuss homelessness in Perth.

“[Uncle Ben] has been incredible … he’s very across the issues in a pragmatic way,” she said.

“I’ve [also] been speaking to him on the phone a lot.”

The Perth Lord Mayor candidate said should she be elected, she will rely on a Noongar advisory committee to ensure homelessness solutions and services are culturally appropriate.

With a self-professed five-point plan for “Perth 2.0”, Bain said homelessness is high on her priority list.

To address homelessness in Perth, Bain plans to:

  • Fund the coordination of a list of people sleeping rough so the city can better target services and be more accountable for the results
  • Investigate which city buildings can be immediately used to create safe sleeping spaces, particularly for women and children
  • Redirect funds into non-profit homeless support organisations with existing accommodation so they can be quickly upgraded
  • Work with hotels and backpacker hostels to provide interim accommodation
  • Fund a trial of a free shuttle bus to provide transport for rough sleepers to service providers
  • Train rangers and frontline City of Perth staff to support people experiencing homelessness
  • Increase cleaning in priority areas.

Bain said she’s aiming for future work to complement the existing work already combatting homelessness in the city.

The ambitious candidate has also backed the State Government’s Common Ground homelessness solution.

She noted, however, that this won’t be built for some time and interim measures are required as soon as possible.

“We can very quickly have a look at city buildings to create safe sleeping spaces,” she said.

The City of Perth election is set for Saturday October 17.

To learn more about Bain’s five-point plan, visit: https://www.dibain.com.au/.

By Hannah Cross