Dignity First Fund to provide Mackay locals with a helping hand

Queenslanders in Mackay have been provided pathways out of homelessness with funding from round three of the $2.5 million Dignity First Fund.

Young people experiencing homelessness in Mackay have had access to 100 backpacks filled with important basic supplies after receiving funding of $8,000.

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.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the backpack program was one of two projects funded in the Mackay region at a total of more than $26,000.

“The Dignity First Fund provides for people who really need it, when they really need it,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“A little money and a lot of heart can make a real difference and that is certainly true in this case – the investment has enabled Kalyan Youth Service to distribute backpacks filled with toiletries, hygiene products, basic clothing, underwear, shoes, a towel and a jumper in winter,” she said.

Service Manager for Kalyan Youth Service Inc, Ms Lisa Hussie, said the backpacks are important for people under 25 who had experienced a family breakdown and had no possessions.

“Most young people turn up here with nothing at all,” Ms Hussie said.

“Knowing they have got a toothbrush and a few basic supplies to get them going is a great start – and they love just having a backpack to put their belongings in.

“It’s also a way of encouraging young people to come into the shelter where we have crisis accommodation for up to eight people – many don’t like coming to a shelter, they will just stay on the streets, so if we can get them in here we can make contact and talk to them.”

The backpacks are available at Kalyan Youth Service and its network of service providers.

Minister for Housing and Public works Mick 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,” Mr de Brenni 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.

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