Gladstone figure drops 12% but many still homeless

ON any given night in this state, up to 20,000 Queenslanders - children, mums, dads, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters - are without a home.

Some sleep rough, rugged up in alleyways or in shop doorways, others stay in crisis accommodation, while still more seek shelter with friends and family.

Speaking before the start of national Homelessness Prevention Week today, August 3, Queensland Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch said latest figures suggested about 105,000 people across Australia were without a secure place to sleep each night.

"About 2.5 million Australians are living below the poverty line and all indications are that the gap between our richest and poorest is getting wider," Ms Enoch said.

There are almost 16,000 households on social housing waiting lists across the state, including 172 in the Gladstone Housing Service Centre region at June 30.

The Gladstone figure is down 12% on the same time last year.

"For people to have good health outcomes, good education outcomes and good employment opportunities, the basics such as housing need to be addressed first," Ms Enoch said.

"While government, community, and support groups are all helping people in need, there's still a high level of demand," she said.

"However housing is only a part of the solution - other challenges have to be addressed too.

"Homelessness isn't just not having a roof over your head.

"It can be caused by domestic and family violence, mental health and other health issues and financial issues.

"Improving the community's understanding of homelessness and its causes is what Homelessness Prevention Week is all about."

Ms Enoch said this financial year homeless services across the state would receive more than $136 million in State Government funding.

She said the wider issue of housing affordability was putting pressure on families "treading water" in difficult financial times.

"For some, the line between having a home for their families and finding themselves on the street remains very fine," she said.

"We are acting not only to help those already sleeping rough, but those who are in danger of finding themselves and their families without a place to call home."

Ms Enoch said $183.6 million had been set aside in last month's State Budget to expand and improve government-owned social housing, as well as funding for homelessness and crisis accommodation support services.

- APN NEWSDESK



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