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Call for both sides of politics to halve homelessness

THE St Vincent de Paul Society National Council has marked Homeless Persons’ Week by calling on both sides of politics to unite to halve all homelessness by 2020.

This would reach a target set in the Australian Government’s White Paper on Homelessness released in 2008, the council said.

Rosies has marked the week with ev-ents in several of its nine centres around Queensland including a barbecue for the homeless in Toowoomba.

The “hidden homeless” is the theme of this year’s campaign launched by Home-lessness Australia, the national peak body representing homelessness services.

The peak body estimates more than 105,000 people in Australia experience homelessness on any given night.

Nearly 20,000 of those come from Queensland.

St Vincent de Paul Society’s national president Anthony Thornton said the society’s “members across Australia come face to face with this hidden reality every day”.

“This includes young people couch-surfing, families forced to live in severely overcrowded and degrading conditions, and people who are reluctant to access formal services,” he said.

“A lack of affordable housing continues to exclude people from the basic human right to shelter and safety.”

Rosies’ Queensland general manager Bob Boardman said the organisation would be involved in several events to mark the week from August 5 to 11 as well as its usual outreach to more than 1300 homeless through street vans in nine centres throughout the state.

“In Toowoomba, in conjunction with the Salvation Army, we are holding a barbecue for the homeless on Thursday, August 8,” he said.

“On the Gold Coast, Rosies has been involved in the third annual Homeless Connect appeal held at Broadbeach.

“Along with other community organisations, we helped cater for the various needs of the homeless including food, clothes and counselling.”

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s CEO Sleepout this year raised more than $5.6 million to support the society’s services for the homeless. Queensland donations topped $823,000.


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