Tenants with disabilities wait for housing

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.com.au

RESIDENTS with disabilities are forced to wait months or even years to find a suitable house in the Gladstone region.

Anglicare Community Rent Scheme housing coordinator Valerie Radloff said high demand had meant a number of their disabled clients were waiting months before they were offered one of Anglicare's 70 properties.

'They are continually filled,' Ms Radloff said.

She said there were 12 households waiting for houses that were disability friendly ? a house that catered for both physical or intellectual disability needs.

In fact Boyne Island resident Maria Hite has been waiting eight years for disability-friendly public housing.

'(The wait is) generally six months and sometimes longer depending on the disability and the severity,' Ms Radloff said.

Central Queensland Regional Disability Council member and president of the Community Linking Agency Judy Young said it wasn't a matter of the standard of service but the huge demand that couldn't be met.

'Private landlords aren't always willing to alter their property and in the

public system there's a long waiting list for purpose-built accommodation,' Mrs Young said.

'Very few new houses are built each year.

'With mainstay respite care it's always booked out. It's all linked to government funding and how many services you can provide.

'With an adult person with a disability, the challenge is to find suitable accomodation and a service that meets their individual needs.

'I would think that every service in Gladstone has a waiting list.'

A Department of Housing spokesperson said people with a severe disability and in housing need were on the department's priority housing list.

The spokesperson said the department owned 96 houses in Gladstone that had been significantly modified to accommodate tenants with special needs and minor modifications had been carried out to a further 200 dwellings.

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