Homelessness services on the Sunshine Coast will benefit from the Queensland Government’s new housing strategy, which aims to build and acquire 53,500 social homes by 2046 and ban rent bidding.
In the short term, the government will spend $2.5 million for an additional 20 per cent funding boost for Sunshine Coast specialist homelessness services over 17 months.
The money will go towards emergency accommodation and help for people to stay in rentals.
Sunshine Coast organisations to benefit include Youturn Caloundra, Kyabra Community Association Inc and inPlace, The Salvation Army Veterans Support Program, Cornerstone Sunshine Coast and more.
“I know our region has seen an uptick in demand for homelessness services and that’s why this additional funding is really important for the Sunshine Coast,” Member for Nicklin Rob Skelton said.
“We’ve made huge strides with a new youth-focused accommodation in Nambour and more social housing, but this shot in the arm means we can give families and people sleeping rough that need more immediate support.“
Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt backed the funding boost.
“We all know that the Sunshine Coast is an amazing place to live but that also means there is pressure on our housing market,” he said.
“That’s why our local Sunshine Coast homelessness services are so important and why we’re increasing funding to each service by 20 per cent.
“There is no easy fix here because this is a complex issue but we are taking this decisive action because every person deserves a place to live.”
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The support for homelessness services was just one of a series of strategic announcements made by the Queensland Government this week.
Premier Steven Miles on Monday unveiled a $1.25 billion scheme as the latest reform in his Labor government’s long-term housing plan.
The scheme would ensure Queenslanders who can’t access a rental or afford to buy were given “safe, secure and affordable homes”, he said.
The latest announcement comes after Queensland emerged as “ground zero” of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis, with a study revealing Brisbane led the nation in rent, energy, insurance and health price hikes.
“This is a really ambitious goal but we have got the money on the table to make sure that we significantly increase the amount of social housing we have in this state,” Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon said.
The government would aim to build thousands of social homes over the next five years, but the minister declined to quantify how many per year.
Construction delays, including high material costs and trade labour shortages, may affect the delivery target, she added.
“I want to be really clear though that (target) will be a little bit bumpy. We do need to scale up over time,” she said.
There are 1000 social homes currently under construction.
Ms Scanlon said the government would purchase homes, retirement villages, hotels and motels to try and meet the demand for social housing.
“We already have over 75,000 social homes but this target will effectively double the number of homes compared to the amount of applicants on the Social Housing Register,” she said.
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Queensland Council of Social Service chief executive Aimee McVeigh welcomed the announcement but wanted the social housing target met.
“Right now there are women with newborn babies living in cars, there are families living in tents, and older women couch surfing,” she said.
There are 100,000 households currently in the state that need social housing, the minister added.
Meanwhile, the Opposition said the government had only built 220 homes a year over the past nine years and doubted their ability to deliver “10 times that amount” under the new scheme.
Shadow Housing Minister Tim Mander said six houses a day would have to be built under the government plan.
“All Labor has delivered is false hope and broken promises to Queenslanders in need,” he said in a statement.
“The social housing waitlist has ballooned to 43,000 Queenslanders.”
Also included in the Miles Government strategy was a $160 million rental relief package.
The extra funding will be distributed over five years among more than 20 existing supports and services, including bond loans, rental grants and rental security subsidies.
Rental laws will be beefed up under the package, with the state to ban rent bidding and enforce hefty penalties for agents who engage or encourage it.
“I have heard from too many Queenslanders who’ve put their application in for a rental property thinking they would get it, only to find that someone else has bid more than the advertised price for that rental and they’ve missed out.
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