The Tranby Hub in Northbridge would open its doors to homeless women overnight in a solution to the bitter tit-for-tat over the closure of a CBD shelter proposed by Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas. Homelessness Minister John Carey has confirmed he is considering the plan but insists another Northbridge site - Ruah’s drop-in centre on James Street - is the superior option. The Cook Government has been at loggerheads with Mr Zempilas since the November 30 closure of a female-only refuge that ran out of the Rod Evans Centre in East Perth for two and a half years. A range of ministers – including Premier Roger Cook – have slammed Mr Zempilas and the City of Perth for refusing to keep the Safe Night Space initiative operational, despite an offer last month of $3.1 million in State Government funding. Mr Zempilas has maintained the decision to close the shelter was made 10 months ago in response to safety concerns from nearby residents; that the government had plenty of notice to step in with an alternative and that the funding lifeline came too late. Now, Mr Zempilas – who is an employee of Seven West Media – has floated a new deal that would see the Tranby Engagement Hub on Aberdeen Street expand its suite of services to include overnight shelter for homeless women. However, the arrangement is contingent on the Cook Government extending its offer of $3.1 million in funding over two years to Uniting WA, which runs Tranby. The plan is backed by Mr Zempilas, neighbouring Vincent Mayor Alison Xamon – who is on the board of Uniting WA – and the not-for-profit’s executive team. “The Safe Night Space service itself has been a huge success and it has been a priority to find an alternate location to keep it open,” Mr Zempilas said. “What I’m really pleased about is here is a solution that can work: an existing service provider, capable and prepared to have it up and running in the very near future. “As long as the State Government makes available that $3.1 million, this service can be back before Christmas.” Mr Zempilas has raised the proposal with Mr Carey – who was this week on a ministerial visit to the UK – and followed up with a letter on Thursday. In response, Mr Carey said Uniting WA had previously been approached about continuing Safe Night Space at its Tranby facility but “declined and raised a number of concerns”. However, he acknowledged the not-for-profit had now changed its position and said further information was being sought. “They have acknowledged there are significant aspects of their proposal that still need to be worked through, and they have advised they are not yet at a stage to provide this detail,” Mr Carey said. Instead, Mr Carey said the better option was for Ruah - which previously ran the Safe Night Space - to be permitted by the City of Perth to move the service to its drop-in centre on James Street. “All this would require is for the City of Perth to support an extension of hours at Ruah’s James Street facility,” Mr Carey said. “I would request the City of Perth to either fast-track Ruah’s application for the use of their James Street facility or reconsider their previous decision and let Ruah and the women back into the existing facility at the Rod Evans Centre to ensure the Safe Night Space service can re-open as soon as possible.” The City of Perth council last year rejected the advice of a planning staff to knock back Ruah’s proposal to move its homelessness drop-in centre to James Street based on widespread community objection. However, that decision was subsequently called in and overturned by then Planning Minister Rita Saffioti, paving the way for the relocation from nearby Shenton Street. Uniting WA co-chief executive Jen Park said Tranby already provided a range of support – including meals, toilets, showers, counselling, advocacy and referral services – from 7am to 2.30pm seven days a week. With some “minor modifications” she said the building would be able to house up to 30 women overnight from 7pm to 7am, the same capacity as the service that ran out of the Rod Evans Centre. “There are some moving parts – including needing to follow planning processes in accordance with the City of Perth – but if it was agreed we would work with all parties to open the service as quickly as possible,” Ms Park said. While Tranby lies within the City of Perth, it is just one street away from the boundaries of Vincent. Ms Xamon said the closures of homelessness services in the CBD “heavily impacted” on her own city. “As a result, I used my connections to broker discussion in order to find an alternative venue that would enable this service to continue,” she said.