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The new face of homelessness in Perth: The victims of the economic boom. Are they being included in the existing support programs for homelessness

de Avillez Botelho Neves, Jose (2014) The new face of homelessness in Perth: The victims of the economic boom. Are they being included in the existing support programs for homelessness. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Homelessness is far from being a static phenomenon; it is forever changing due to different causes and associated characteristics. In recent years, new groups have emerged that contribute to the population of homeless, and in some cases these groups have escaped through gaps in the network of existing social support systems. This seems to be the case for those who have become victims of the last two decades of prosperity in the Perth metropolitan area.

The economic growth in Western Australia has attracted many people looking for better opportunities, both professionally and in their lifestyle choices. This population increase has caused damage as well as many benefits. One is a shortage of houses availability, and the subsequent rise on the housing market prices, especially affecting those on low and moderate incomes (Shelter WA, 2012; Department of Housing, 2010; Burk, 2011). Many of the people who are reduced to homelessness, do not fit into the typical image of the homelessness, reported in the studies conducted by scholars. Homelessness is usually associated with addiction, domestic or youth violence (Homelessness Taskforce, 2008), and now surprisingly, some middle class families and employed people with low and moderate incomes are becoming priority target groups for support programs (WA Government Department of Child Protection, 2010). However, there are identified deficiencies in support programs, so these people are double victims; victims of the high price of housing, which exacerbates the effects of a life shock on the homeless, but also victims of a lack of support by homelessness services.

There is a need for specific responses to particular, individual problems, in order to support those at risk of homelessness, and there is a need for effective preventative measures. Studies from different authors show that the development of the community housing sector (Gilmour, 2013), an increase in incomes (O’Flaherty, 2009), a more articulate support system from social services (Wiesel et al., 2013), and the inclusion of specific measures to protect this group on the existing prevention programs (Culhane et al., 2011), could be important steps in protecting them.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Supervisor(s): Haigh, Yvonne
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