THE Queensland Government has announced a $1 million Action Plan to assist homeless people and vulnerable renters on the Gold Coast leading up to and during next year’s Commonwealth Games.
Speaking at the 10th annual Gold Coast Homeless Connect event, Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the plan included access to 420 temporary emergency night beds both on the Coast and in nearby areas.
The Action Plan also includes extra funding to help a minimum of 200 households in crisis and extending service providers’ operating hours leading up to and throughout the Games in April next year.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Mr de Brenni said the assistance was not only about the funding that had been allocated to address homelessness on the Coast during the Games.
“We know the Games will bring a lot of people to the Coast, and we know that will mean a range of changes and challenges,” he said.
“The Gold Coast has an incredibly strong community of specialist homelessness services and we will be working with our partners to make sure that everyone is supported.
“And the plan goes beyond GC2018 – it sets the stage for the Games experience helping to create a housing and homelessness legacy for the Gold Coast.”
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate welcomed the strategy and said developing a comprehensive action plan would enable the city to respond effectively and proactively to the possible impacts the Games may have on vulnerable people.
“The plan delivers a broad strategy to address these needs in an integrated way,” Mr Tate said.
“I support the Minister’s collaborative approach which sees his department work closely with City of Gold Coast, community groups and other agencies to ensure we deliver an inclusive and positive Games experience for all our city’s residents.”
— Gold Coast 2018 (@GC2018) August 2, 2017
The response will include a new mobile support service to deliver additional services to homeless youth and deliver enhanced housing support, including support for vulnerable renters to sustain tenancies.
The Government will build partnerships with landlords and real estate agents in the area to ensure vulnerable renters have appropriate support so they can sustain housing.
The plan will also deliver a new Advance to Zero housing program to ensure the most vulnerable residents are rapidly housed and supported to sustain tenancies.
The Government will also partner with Translink to deliver travel options for people in need to access homelessness support services via public transport.
Mr de Brenni said the plan will also see training for the Games volunteers, security staff, and contractors to support interactions with people experiencing homelessness.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about homelessness and we know that when people are better informed about homelessness the better equipped they are to help ensure people experiencing homelessness are treated with respect and dignity,” he said.
“Our training will make it easier for people to identify people in need of support and help direct them to the increased support that will be available.
“I think training like this has value well beyond the Commonwealth Games and we will be looking at expanding the program throughout the state.”
To view the 2018 Homelessness Action Plan in its entirety, click here.