Queenslanders on the Sunshine Coast have been provided pathways out of homelessness with funding from round three of the $2.5 million Dignity First Fund.
A dual cab ute with an aluminium tray to transport people in crisis and their possessions has been operating on the Sunshine Coast after receiving funding of $42,937.
The purpose of the Fund is to seek new and innovative ideas from non-government providers that aim to prevent and reduce homelessness and assist people experiencing homelessness to live with dignity.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the ute has been transporting people experiencing homelessness and families experiencing domestic violence to crisis accommodation and service appointments.
“The Dignity First Fund provides for people who really need it, when they really need it,” Mr de Brenni said.
“A little money and a lot of heart can make a real difference and that is certainly true in this case – most clients of the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre don’t have cars so there is a high need for a vehicle to get them to a safe place and important appointments.”
CEO of Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre Inc Mr Michael Henning said they are driving people south to Brisbane and north to Gympie where necessary.
“Public transport can be expensive and difficult to access for many of our clients so this ute is making a big difference to their lives,” Mr Henning said.
“We are also using the ute to pick up produce for our community dinners which we hold twice a week and often attract more than 50 people.
“And it will help us establish a social enterprise business at the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre – building on the skills some of our clients already have by engaging them in jobs like car maintenance, furniture construction, cooking, catering and recycling.
Mr Henning said they have also used the funding to install 20 large outdoor lockers at the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre.
“Many clients try to hide their possessions in our community garden while they go to appointments – these free lockers give them a secure place to leave their gear where it won’t be stolen,” he said.
Minister de Brenni said Dignity First Funding was established in 2016 to provide localised, people centric support, and was essential to providing Queenslanders with housing security.
“Labor believes that having a safe, secure, sustainable place to call home, is essential to holding down a job,” he said.
“There are many different reasons why a someone my find it difficult to get into or hold down a tenancy, and the Palaszczuk Government is making sure we have wrap around services to suit every need.”
“We are providing funding for a range of important projects – mobile outreach services, food trucks, community kitchen upgrades, drop-in centres and backpacks containing essential supplies, to name a few.”
The 19/20 Palaszczuk Government Budget commits a further $40 million to homelessness support, bringing the total funding for homelessness in Queensland to $180 million.