Developers should pay for low-cost housing, says St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland

A QUEENSLAND charity has called for regulations requiring developers to provide solutions for homelessness.

HELPING THE HOMELESS: Night Ninjas founder Alix Russo gives a cup of warm soup to a man who was homeless and had both legs amputated. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

HELPING THE HOMELESS: Night Ninjas founder Alix Russo gives a cup of warm soup to a man who was homeless and had both legs amputated. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland chief executive Peter Maher said one strategy to address the issue was for urban development to support the less fortunate through low-cost housing.

“I think regulations need to be put in place that require developers to help provide solutions to the homeless issue,” Mr Maher said.

“We are providing up to $2 million in supported accommodation across the state but it’s still not enough. We need new collaborative solutions between government, corporations and not-for-profits.”

Mr Maher’s call comes as the Australian Bureau of Statistics released data showing an increase in the number of homeless people in Redlands from 148 in 2011 to 247 in 2016.

The census data said there were 2500 more homeless people in Queensland in 2016 than five years previously.

“It’s appalling that as we are getting wealthier as a nation, we can’t provide people with food and shelter in the 21st century,” he said.

“As Australians we should be pretty embarrassed and asking what is the government doing about it?”

Mr Maher said the government needed to increase its support for the homeless through social housing and additional services.

Redlands MP Kim Richards said data collection methods in 2016 were different to 2011.

“Census staff worked collaboratively with community organisations to develop statistics that reflected those who were sleeping rough, those sleeping in cars and those that did not have access to suitable accommodation, that is, had no accommodation tenure within an existing arrangement,” she said.

Ms Richards said $129 million was given to 126 organisations delivering homelessness services in Queensland.

“For Redlands this means funding of $892,035 to two non-government organisations to deliver three specialist homelessness programs that provide centre-based support, mobile support and 15 places of immediate or transitional temporary supported accommodation,” she said.

Ms Richards said the Housing Department would lock in five-year service contracts for specialist homelessness service providers from July 1.

“It is only through strong partnerships with the sector that we can develop more contemporary services to assist people experiencing homelessness to live with dignity,” she said.

Ms Richards said Queensland’s Housing Construction Jobs Program would provide $1.6 billion for social and affordable housing over the next 10 years in priority regions.

“The program focuses on providing more housing in key population and economic growth areas to help address the state’s long-term housing needs by supporting and accelerating new construction and precinct development,” she said.

Ms Richards said four projects that would provide 63 houses were under way in the Redlands.

A council spokesperson said council supported state and community initiatives at a local level and had identified homelessness and domestic violence as important social issues.

“Though the homelessness increase in Redlands is in-line with other areas and remains comparatively low, council continues to work to address social disadvantage issues such as homelessness, through its regular and active participation in networks that support providers of social housing and relief activities, including the Bayside Housing Network,” the spokesperson said.

Federal MP Andrew Laming said homelessness was managed by the Queensland Housing Department.

“So Redland services are managed by the state government with no federal involvement,” he said.

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