Plans to expand Peel Community Kitchen services to help Mandurah's homeless

Peel Community Soup Kitchen's current location in the Sutton Street Hall. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.
Peel Community Soup Kitchen's current location in the Sutton Street Hall. Photo: Carla Hildebrandt.

The City of Mandurah is taking steps to help the local homeless community, with a plan to facilitate the expansion of the Peel Community Kitchen, the Mandurah Mail can reveal.

It was reported in September 2018 the kitchen was experiencing "growing pains" in its current Sutton Street Hall location and moving it was identified as a key issue in areport presented to councillors at the time.

In a positive move, the relocation of the Peel Community Kitchen will be included in the City of Mandurah's 2019-20 budget, to be voted on by councillors next month.

The issue of homelessness has been a hot topic throughout Western Australia recently, with the City of Rockingham coming under fire for vetoing a proposal for a homeless shelter in Shoalwater.

The City of Bunbury also recently earmarked a location to construct a street shelter in the CBD for the homeless.

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Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams said helping locals doing it tough was a key priority for the city.

"There is no doubt that as a community we're facing some challenges, especially in the city centre," he said.

"I think its easy to say homelessness and antisocial behaviour are universal problems, and they are, but that doesn't mean we can't have a serious look at pragmatic solutions to address these challenges locally."

Mr Williams said it was important for council to work closely with the relevant agencies.

"Council is currently considering a plan, which we will be debating next month, for the relocation of the community kitchen," he said.

"The solution that we're looking at here is enabling those who access this volunteer-led service to also have opportunities to build connections with those agencies who exist to service people who are vulnerable in our community.

"Whilst council still needs to sign off on the project, we're working closely with the people at Peel Community Kitchen to explore the best approach, because they're the ones with the insight."

Mr Williams said moving the kitchen to allow the organisation to provide more meals for those in need was the first step in addressing the issue of homelessness.

"We're on the right track, although we have to be realistic about the fact that this is a long-term strategy and things aren't going to be sorted overnight," he said.

"Nationally, we're seeing a cyclical downturn in the economy and Mandurah isn't ever immune to these challenges.

"We just have to keep working together across community, government and business to do the best we can to increase confidence in the long run, and support our businesses and our community with practical interventions in the immediate term."