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A roof over their heads

Funding for a new state government strategy aims to build and acquire more social housing to help the homeless and those struggling to rent.

Homelessness services on the Sunshine Coast will benefit from the state government’s new housing strategy, which aims to build and acquire 53,500 social homes by 2046 and ban rent bidding.

In the short term, the government will spend $2.5 million for an additional 20 per cent funding boost over 17 months for the Coast’s specialist homelessness services. The money will go towards emergency accommodation and help for people to stay in rentals. Regional organisations to benefit include Youturn Caloundra, Kyabra Community Association Inc and inPlace, The Salvation Army Veteran Support Program and Cornerstone Sunshine Coast.

“I know our region has seen an uptick in demand for homelessness services and that’s why this additional funding is really important for the Sunshine Coast,” Member for Nicklin Rob Skelton says.

“We’ve made huge strides with a new youth-focused accommodation in Nambour and more social housing, but this shot in the arm means we can give families and people sleeping rough that need more immediate support.”

Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt is also backing the funding boost.

“We all know that the Sunshine Coast is an amazing place to live but that also means there is pressure on our housing market,” he says.

“There is no easy fix here because this is a complex issue, but we are taking this decisive action because every person deserves a place to live.”

The support for homelessness services was just one of a series of strategic announcements made by the state government recently.

Premier Steven Miles unveiled a $1.25 billion scheme as the latest reform in his Labor government’s long-term housing plan. The scheme will ensure Queenslanders who can’t access a rental or afford to buy are given “safe, secure and affordable homes”, he says.

It comes after Queensland emerged as ‘ground zero’ of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis, with a study revealing Brisbane led the nation in rent, energy, insurance and health price hikes.

“This is a really ambitious goal but we have got the money on the table to make sure that we significantly increase the amount of social housing we have in this state,” Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon says.

The government will aim to build thousands of social homes over the next five years, but the minister declined to quantify how many per year. She says construction delays, including high material costs and trade labour shortages, may affect the delivery target.

“I want to be really clear, though, that (target) will be a little bit bumpy. We do need to scale up over time,” she says.

There are 1000 social homes currently under construction.

Queensland Council of Social Service chief executive Aimee McVeigh welcomes the announcement but wants the social housing target met. “Right now there are women with newborn babies living in cars, there are families living in tents, and older women couch surfing,” she says.

With AAP.

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