Media Release June 27 Minister for Housing and Public Works The Hon Tim Mander
New crisis accommodation and an overhaul of the intake system are among the initiatives of a Newman Government commitment to halving homelessness in Queensland by 2020.
Housing Minister Tim Mander said in addition to delivering ‘bricks and mortar’ initiatives, the plan would reform service delivery to address the root causes of homelessness and give vulnerable Queenslanders the necessary skills to ensure they don’t slip backwards.
“On any given night, at least 20,000 Queenslanders are homeless including more than 1500 ‘sleeping rough’ mostly in regional parts of the State,” Mr Mander said.
“In a great state like Queensland, that’s completely unacceptable.”
Mr Mander said new supported accommodation facilities would be targeted at key locations and would include a 40 bed facility in Townsville, a 20 bed facility in Redcliffe and a 40 bed facility in Cairns as part of the first stage.
“Additional dwellings will also be provided to expand the Street to Home program so it can continue its outreach model of linked accommodation and support and be able to respond quickly to the need for short-term accommodation.
“We’ll also develop and complete 10 joint ventures to deliver new housing and support initiatives, with the government contributing the land and the non-government sector providing the capital and support services.”
Mr Mander said while the ‘bricks and mortar’ projects were important, they were only part of the solution.
“As well as building more accommodation, we also have to change the way we do business to make sure we’re building resilience, not just reliance.”
“There are a number of factors that can lead to homelessness including unemployment, mental illness, and domestic violence, and those things don’t go away just because you have a roof over your head,” he said.
“This strategy is about recognising those factors through an initial triage intake system, and tailoring individual responses that connect vulnerable people with the support they need to put their lives back on track.”
Mr Mander said lead providers would be engaged across the State to implement the strategy and would engage directly with secondary providers to reduce duplication and make better use of resources.
“By building a stronger role for larger service providers, we can achieve better integration of housing and support services, better alignment of specialist homelessness services and reduced service fragmentation.”
Mr Mander said the first housing joint venture will be completed by 2016.
(STS believes that a comprehesive housing and homelessness strategy must focus on the private rental market and include tenant advice services – Ed.)