THE St Vincent de Paul Society’s Queensland president John Campbell has warned the state’s families were increasingly at risk of homelessness as economic conditions worsen.
These increasing levels of hardship are being reflected in a recent 10 per cent increase in phone calls to the society from people seeking financial support, he said.
“The big thing we all need to remember is that the average struggling family with a mortgage is only ever two pay packets away from destitution,” Mr Campbell said.
“This means if the breadwinners lose work such families are almost immediately at risk of homelessness.
“Those families most at risk are the ones who’ve settled in Queensland in search of work and have no support networks – friends, grandparents and so on – in place.”
Mr Campbell said the start of work on a $6.3 million Gold Coast accommodation project to house single parents experiencing homelessness was a major response from the society to deal with the problem.
Under the Families Back on Track project, 28 self-contained two-bedroom units and a support centre are being built in Allied Drive, Arundell.
However, much more needed to be done to deal with the situation, Mr Campbell said.
“There are worrying signs that increasing numbers of Queensland families are facing homelessness,” he said.
“And this is not just in the city but in the country as well.”
Mr Campbell’s comments came as the chief executive officer of the NSW St Vincent de Paul Society John Picot said that, for the first time, the organisation was having to build shelters to accommodate families.
In an article in a southern newspaper, Mr Picot said the society was having to turn away 10 times as many families as it could accommodate.
Foundation work on the Gold Coast Families Back on Track project started in February and the centre is expected to be operational by early December.
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