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City suburbs lead spike in evictions
The West Australian Contactors board up a house after a family was evicted. Picture: Steve Ferrier

The rate of evictions from public housing has continued to accelerate, according to figures from the Department of Housing.

From July 2011 to last month, 1015 tenancies were vacated through eviction. Of those, 584 had at least one householder who self-identified as Aboriginal.

In the 2010 and 2011 financial years, there were just 411 evictions Statewide, including 225 Aboriginal tenancies.

However, there has been an overall increase in the percentage of Aboriginal tenancies in public housing in WA since the Barnett Government took office in 2008 - up from 24 per cent to 29 per cent.

For the first time, the department has released regional statistics, showing most evictions were in suburban Perth.

There is wide disparity in regional areas, with 130 evictions in the Mid West in the past 2½ years and only two in the Great Southern.

Advocates estimate at least 2000 indigenous children have been made homeless since 2011 and warned of an emerging social crisis among Aboriginal families who lived on the streets and overcrowded relatives' public housing.

Shadow housing minister Fran Logan said that though the Opposition supported the Government's "three strikes" disruptive behaviour strategy for "a small number of Homeswest tenants", evicting dysfunctional families was just shifting a problem.

"As a local MP, I know that tenants who are evicted from one suburb because of antisocial behaviour simply become some other suburb or town's problem," Mr Logan said. "The root causes of the families' behavioural issues are not addressed.

"Rather than allow these families to become another community's problem, or worse, homeless, why hasn't investment been made into temporary housing with direct support services that can address the underlying issues which lead to antisocial behaviour?"

Mr Logan acknowledged the Government's investment in special housing for the homeless at St Bartholomew House in East Perth and young people at the Foyer Oxford accommodation in Leederville but said more supported, temporary accommodation was needed.

Acting Housing Minister Mike Nahan said support was offered to tenants through several programs but a small minority of families continued to break the "simple rules" of respecting neighbours, paying bills and caring for property.

He said free help to budget and for other issues was available through the STEP program and when a family had a "first strike", the Department for Child Protection and Family Support was informed and could offer support through the Stronger Families program.

"To suggest that this Government does not support these families is simply not true," he said.

Dr Nahan said the Government must and did strike a reasonable balance between taxpayers and its public housing tenants.

It must protect the rights of neighbours to enjoy their property in peace and of taxpayers who subsidised social housing and expected these properties to be looked after.

He said the Government must also look to the needs of those on the public housing waiting list.

"It is also important to note that when three strikes have been substantiated, the decision to evict is made by a magistrate," Dr Nahan said.