Government called on to improve ‘unacceptable’ rough sleeper conditions in Geraldton

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Many people are sleeping rough in unsafe conditions at the derelict Batavia Motor Inn, a welfare agency says. File picture.
Camera IconMany people are sleeping rough in unsafe conditions at the derelict Batavia Motor Inn, a welfare agency says. File picture. Credit: File picture/Geraldton Guardian

A local welfare organisation is calling on the WA Government to make emergency housing a priority, as some of Geraldton’s homeless are forced to squat in a derelict hotel.

At least 45 people were sleeping rough in Geraldton, according to a recent survey, with many squatting in unsafe conditions at the derelict Batavia Motor Inn, according to Regional Alliance West representative Chris Gabelish. “It’s just totally unacceptable that people live in these kinds of conditions and we look forward to working with Government to have housing in Geraldton the priority in the next term of government,” he said.

The multi-storey hotel, which is owned by a Singaporean syndicate, has remained empty and unused for more than a decade.

Mr Gabelish estimated the city’s homeless population would include 150 more people, who would be “couch-surfing”.

“The majority aren’t sleeping rough, the majority are in houses, which causes overcrowding and potentially causes more homelessness for the existing householders,” he said. Mr Gabelish spoke after Ruah Community Services released the results of a homelessness survey last month.

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