In a pioneering move, Villa Pelletier, a residential aged care centre in West Leederville, has become the first facility in Western Australia to designate rooms specifically for homeless elderly individuals. Out of its 40 beds, 12 have been allocated for individuals aged 65 and over with health needs who are experiencing homelessness.
Villa Pelletier’s facility manager, Sharon Hallam, told The West Australian that the decision was made to address the lack of options for socially disadvantaged elderly individuals. The facility will continue to offer these rooms to the homeless as vacancies arise.
Since the introduction of these beds last year, the demand has been overwhelming, with all the designated rooms being filled within just two months.
Prospective residents who meet the criteria set by the Aged Care Assessment Team, have a mental health diagnosis and demonstrate insecure tenancy will be provided with permanent residency in a private single room at Villa Pelletier. Most of the facility’s residents solely rely on their pensions as their source of income.
While hospital social workers have been trying to find accommodation for homeless patients upon discharge, Hallam shared that she has received numerous inquiries from various organisations and individuals seeking assistance.
The State Government has expressed support for Southern Cross Care’s initiative and highlighted that primary healthcare funding, including aged care, falls under the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. However, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Government allocated additional funding through the Department of Health to Homeless Healthcare, aimed at safeguarding the most vulnerable individuals. The funding included grants for Street Health service delivery and the operation of free mobile medical services for those experiencing homelessness.
Source: The West Australian.