Theme 8: Affordable housing

AFFORDABLE HOUSING – Fraser Coast community social plan update

An update on ‘Affordable Housing’, presented by Paul Scully from Centacare

StrategyActionIdentified CommunitiesCurrent Contacts / Current Status
8.1 Investigate innovative options to suit the diverse housing needs of the community8.1.1 Establish a stakeholder group to generate and explore optionsAcross RegionRentConnect
QSTARS
Centacare Fraser Coast
Regional Housing Ltd
Community Housing Ltd
Dept of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy
Hervey Bay Housing Coalition
Yoorana DV Shelter
MACORP
Red Cross YHARS

Homelessness in the region has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and there is a new cohort of low to middle income earners experiencing homelessness for the first time.

There is an urgent need for affordable housing and a number of options were presented in the Wide Bay Burnett Strategic Housing Issues Paper.

Fraser Coast Property Industry Alliance in partnership with FCRC facilitated a workshop in June 2021 to consider the current housing crisis.
8.2 Engage with the homeless community members to ascertain best ways to address this issue8.2.1 Utilise existing opportunities to connect with the homeless community and establish needs
HBNC Community Navigators work with community members requiring support to link with services.

FCRC Community Rangers identify locations where people may be sleeping rough.

We Care 2 provides breakfast on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and also operates an Extra Choices Food Shop Monday to Friday.

J&T Helping the Homeless provide breakfast and supplies to people experiencing homelessness two mornings per week in City Park.

A Kindness Garden has been established outside HBNC where people experiencing homelessness are able to access donated items from the Bless Box and also access HBNC services.
HBNC Comfort Kitchen provides an evening meal on Wednesdays.
HBNC has a shower program and care packs donated by the community.
8.2.2 Establish a stakeholder group to further the generated ideasA Strategic Housing Group was established in October 2020 to review current homelessness data and to identify possible affordable housing options. The Wide Bay Burnett Strategic Housing Paper was developed and distributed to all levels of government.
This group will now be facilitated by DCHDE and will sit under the Regional Managers Coordination Network.
8.3 Assist people to understand and access the private rental market8.3.1. Work with the private market to develop information packsMaryboroughThe Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the private rental market on the Fraser Coast with property availability being at an all time low. This is due to a range of factors including people moving out of cities to regional areas, Australian citizens returning from overseas and grey nomads returning moving back into their properties.
8.3.2 Develop and implement an awareness campaign to inform both renters and landlords of opportunitiesQSTARS provides Tenancy Rights & Responsibilities Information sessions.

Skillsets for Successful Tenancies courses are run regularly in Hervey Bay and Maryborough with the aim of upskilling people who want to enter and maintain tenancies in the private rental market. At the end of the course each participant will receive a Certificate of Completion to be included with rental applications
8.4 Investigate need for increased provision of short-term crisis accommodation8.4.1 Address need for youth crisis accommodationHervey Bay
Indigenous Community
RHL’s Youthcare Accommodation Program provides secure crisis accommodation and 24/7 support to young people, aged 16 to 25, who are at risk of, or are currently experiencing homelessness.
Youth Homelessness Surveys carried out in 2019 and 2020.
Due to the current shortage of affordable housing, there are significant blockages in crisis accommodation.
8.4.2 Address need for women’s crisis accommodation to include boysServices are reporting that one of the highest increases in homelessness has been for women aged over 50. They are particularly vulnerable due to lower rates of savings and superannuation.

The lack of accommodation options has meant that some women and their children are remaining in unsafe situations where they are at extreme risk of domestic violence.