Homeless woman Susan saved from street
By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au
MORE than 300 people face homelessness in Gladstone every night.
At 45, Susan (pictured right, who did not want her true identity revealed) said she had spent a number of sleepless nights wandering the streets of Gladstone with nowhere to go.
'It was really hard because I couldn't find anywhere to sleep ? I sat in the park and walked around, it was too dangerous to lay down anywhere,' Susan said.
She said if it had not been for local welfare agencies, she would still be wandering the streets.
'I was so lucky that St Vinnies could help me ? they gave me food and deodorant and clothes ? when you're on the streets you don't have anywhere to shower ? it's really degrading,' she said.
Susan said living on the streets was a "humiliating and scary'' experience and she believed more accommodation needed to be provided for people in her situation. ' I've got nowhere to go ? all I've got is two bags of clothes and I just walk the streets,' she said.
While Susan has found some temporary accommodation for now, she doesn't know what will happen to her when she's forced to move on.
'I have no idea what I'm going to do or where I'll go, I've got no family or friends or anything ? if it wasn't for St Vinnies and the Salvos helping me out I'd be sitting in the gutter,' she said.
The Salvation Army corps officer Major Bill Hutley said Susan was not alone.
'I think homelessness in Gladstone is more prevalent than we're led to believe,' he said.
Major Hutley said The Salvation Army received a number of inquiries and requests for accommodation each week, and he believed more facilities needed to be provided for people at risk of homelessness.
Anglicare Central Queensland Gladstone housing manager Valerie Radloff said more than 50 people were on the waiting list to access the community rent scheme offered by the organisation.
She said there were 73 people using the scheme and to be eligible, individuals or families had to be listed for public housing and be low income earners.
'At the moment there are 52 people on the waiting list, and a large percentage of those people are homeless or at risk of homelessness,' she said.
Roseberry Youth Services manager Margaret Johnston said the organisation relied on funding from state and federal governments, but more needed to be done to ensure facilities were available for low income earners.
'If we were a business we'd be shutting our doors ? last year we ran at a $50,000 net loss ? that's how much extra we had to put in from donations and fundraisers to run the place,' she said.