The Central Interagency Network have compiled a useful list of contacts for those experiencing housing stress in the Brisbane region over the 2022 – 2023 holiday period.
The Central Interagency Network have compiled a useful list of contacts for those experiencing housing stress in the Brisbane region over the 2022 – 2023 holiday period.
Last week, Mission Australia released its Older Women’s Pathways out of Homelessness report.
This report shares the pathways out of homelessness for older women living in Brisbane – highlighting their devastating loss, loneliness and frustration, but also what and who helped them. The women drawing on this experience, together with homelessness service providers, describe an ideal service and the practice approaches necessary to care for and support older women who end up homeless.
The Gold Star Project is aimed at stimulating the development of innovative financial products that would enable people of limited means to achieve housing security through building equity in their home. The focus is on shared equity products that can be accessed by women who are unable to access commercially provided standard home loans. The cohort of particular concern is women over 55 years living in Queensland given the rising numbers experiencing financial stress and at risk of homelessness. The economics of housing for single older women are particularly challenging, for reasons outlined below, so inclusion of other cohorts may have to be considered to improve scheme viability.
Housing policy is enhanced through the recognition of the importance of housing for human welfare and the severe detrimental effects of homelessness. The benefits of housing go well beyond physical shelter – the Australian Centre for Social Impact has distilled the three critical functions of home as acquiring agency, connection with others and expression of identity.1
The gulf between renting and home ownership is enormous and the number and diversity of people occupying this space are growing. Beyond the current focus in the policy debate on supply and affordability of housing, greater diversity of options is needed when it comes to buildings, financing, tenure and ownership types to reflect the diversity of the population. Innovation is needed that places people rather than buildings at the heart of the process to provide greater diversity of options. Shared equity has an important role to play in enabling innovation, allowing people to move from insecure rental to homeownership, and unlocking the benefits of secure housing for a diverse group.
In 2016, one of Q Shelter’s founders and lifelong members, Deirdre Coghlan, passed away. In honour of her memory, Q Shelter established a bursary to help those in the housing and homelessness sector access professional development they might otherwise miss out on.
“Each year Q Shelter provides up to $5,000 in bursary payments to applicants.
Usually, this amount has been split amongst several applications. Q Shelter has distributed $25,000 in bursary payments since 2017.
Deirdre firmly believed that housing was a human right and was passionate about helping those in the sector gain skills in:
→ Community development
→ Grassroots and lived experience engagement
→ Challenging structural and systemic issues
If you are a Q Shelter member who works or volunteers in the sector and needs special funding to grow your skills, consider applying to the 2022 Deirdre Coghlan Bursary. Applications close 1 October 2022. The winners of the 2022 bursary will announced at Q Shelter’s Annual General Meeting in November.
Interested in applying but aren’t yet a Q Shelter member? Memberships start from $10/year for concession holders. As well as being eligible for the bursary, members received discounts to all our training and events, and help shape our representative voice to government. If you share our vision of a home for every Queenslander, sign up today!
Last year’s winners included:
A Queensland Disability & Housing Forum commenced this week, delivering a series of online and in-person sessions and workshops around the State, aimed at addressing housing barriers for people with disability.
The Queensland forum is part of a national series of events being held around the country. Accessing housing for people with disability is harder than it should be, but a range of solutions are available to benefit all members of the community.
“For people with disability, finding housing that is suitable and enables them to set up a stable home in an area and community of their choice is very challenging, on top of the shortage of housing and the current affordability crisis that impacts on everyone,” said Michael Bleasdale, Executive Officer of Rights & Inclusion Australia (R&IA).
R&IA is a national organisation of and for people with disability which is hosting the Queensland forum, in partnership with Q Shelter, from 26 July to 4 August.
Coming events as part of the forum include:
Friday 29 July, 11:00 – 12:30pm: National Disability Insurance Scheme – Home & Living Supports. Register here
Venue: Wesley House, 140 Ann Street, Brisbane (Burnett Room)
Cairns Regional Council, 119-145 Spence Street, Cairns (Civic Rooms)
Q Shelter Executive Director, Fiona Caniglia, said that Queensland was working hard to ensure that new homes built for social and affordable housing include accessible features and design. The major issue impacting access to housing for people living with disability in Queensland is a lack of affordable housing options.
“The housing crisis puts pressure on all people seeking a home, particularly on those with disability who face even greater challenges finding suitable accommodation to meet their needs,” Ms Caniglia said.
“Finding a home where people have access to amenities and transport, be able to make home modifications, and support their established connections to communities are made more difficult when supply is low, and the demand and cost for homes are high.”
Q Shelter continues to advocate for more affordable and sustainable housing options for all Queenslanders.
It is important for people to understand their housing options and progress the housing option that is right for them.
Forum event registrations are still open to people with disability, and families, and others from the community. Details can be found at https://riaustralia.org/opening-the-door-project/.
For further information please contact:
Michael Bleasdale, R&IA 0499 900 006
Michelle Saftich, Q Shelter Media contact, 0407 074 645
“Brisbane 2032 could set a new standard in legacy for social and economic opportunities,” according to housing and homelessness peak body Q Shelter.
A 46-recommendation report commissioned by Q Shelter was released today, detailing an economic and social legacy framework for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, focussed on leaving behind a world best in social inclusion legacy.
“Our report examines legacy benefits and while there are good examples of legacy in areas such as housing and economic participation, Brisbane could set a new international benchmark for how to ensure a legacy for all,’ said Q Shelter Executive Director Fiona Caniglia.
Developed with Urbis, the report was today handed to the Queensland Minister for Communities, Housing and the Digital Economy, Leeane Enoch, to assist the State Government in its detailed planning for legacy in areas such as housing, homelessness and economic participation. It has been delivered to all parliamentarians, SEQ Mayors and key stakeholders in governance of the Games.
The report warns that large scale events like the Games will cause displacement of existing populations without early interventions to prevent rising rental costs and ensure adequate housing supply.
“We are starting at a disadvantage because there is not enough housing supply to meet population needs,” said Ms Caniglia.
“We urgently need to ensure that early planning for legacy is focussed on the toughest, yet most important issues – to ensure Queenslanders have a home and ensure that residents are not displaced.
“We call for intensive additional resources to actively work with people experiencing homelessness now to ensure they can find and keep a home. We also call for scaling up housing supply now in addition to ensuring that there is a housing legacy from the Games’ village. It will not be enough to wait for the Games to see only a small amount of housing convert to social and affordable housing.”
The report calls for new, community wide measures such as the establishment of a housing trust to fund social and affordable housing well into the future. The report also details opportunities to see procurement processes target social enterprises and ensure employment and training opportunities for people who are marginalised in the employment market.
It includes a range of measures which ensure economic and social benefits of the Games also flow to vulnerable Queenslanders, including people experiencing homelessness, unemployment and disability.
“The importance of direct measures to guarantee economic opportunities and participation by First Nations’ peoples and businesses are critical,” Ms Caniglia said.
The report details case studies of previous Olympic and mass events, which enjoyed economic returns, yet saw negative impacts on vulnerable communities, such as mass rental evictions and re-locations.
Ms Caniglia said, “Historically, Olympic and Paralympic Games have promoted social and affordable housing legacy opportunities but have rarely delivered in these areas. If we start planning and acting now, Brisbane 2032 has an opportunity to be the most successful Games of all time, leaving behind a legacy for all.
“Careful and early planning is needed, with all levels of Government and other key partners, to make sure this is a Games of which we can all be proud and that delivers a social inclusion legacy that protects and benefits our most vulnerable.
“We must do everything to avoid crisis responses immediately before and during the Games. It will not be enough to temporarily move homeless people into insecure accommodation at the time. “
In summary, the comprehensive report details implementation opportunities, such as:
Q Shelter welcomes the opportunity to work with the Queensland State Government, the Commonwealth Government, the Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympic Games organising committee, the Legacy Committee and other key partners, to further develop the report’s recommendations.
Media opportunities for comment by Q Shelter Executive Director, Fiona Caniglia.
Q Shelter Media Contact: Michelle Saftich – Phone 0407 074 645
Below is an excerpt from our recent letter dated 13 July 2022 to The Hon Cameron Dick, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment. To read the full letter, please click here.
Dear Treasurer ,
Indexation for funded housing and homelessness services
Q Shelter recently wrote to the Minister for Communities, Housing and the Digital Economy, The Hon Leeanne Enoch, to raise concerns about indexation levels for the housing and homelessness sector. Q Shelter also provided input to QCOSS’s recent letter to you on the same topic and our representatives were present at the recent QCOSS State Budget, where you confirmed the State Government will look into this issue. For the record, Q Shelter commends the Federal Government for supporting an increase to the minimum wage. So many people on low-middle wages simply cannot afford basic living costs, including housing. The increase of both the National Minimum Wage and Modern Award Minimum Wages are important steps in poverty reduction.
Q Shelter highlighted to the Minister, that the housing and homelessness sector is under increased demand pressure from more and more households including working families. Yesterday’s report from the Auditor General shows extraordinary demand for assistance without adequate housing supply. Yesterday we also heard from a Q Shelter member that they had only just been informed of their indexation rate which is 2.49%. This is lower than the indexation rate applied to other community services at 2.88%. It is also significantly lower than the rise in wages and other costs borne by community sector employers…
The longer-term impact of indexation rates below the true rising costs of service delivery paints a grim picture for the future of community services. If this trend continues, the sector will continue to reduce support services, and targets for the growth of social and affordable housing will need to be adjusted.
We urge you to bring forward actions to increase the rate of indexation for this year to cover the true costs of wage rises and other employment related expenses. We also urge you to work with other relevant Ministers to address the timeliness of advice to the sector in support of high standards in governance including the timely preparation of sustainable budgets.
We hope this letter helps you to consider the needs of our sector. Every part of the community services industry is impacted. Because housing need and homelessness is such a growing concern, we write to highlight a strong case for working with Treasury to guarantee no nett loss to service delivery and housing growth projects in this portfolio area.
The Auditor General’s report on delivering social housing services shows 78% growth in the register of need over four years. In just one year, the number of households waiting for social housing in Queensland grew from 27,933 to 30,922.
The report indicates only 61% of those households are likely to be allocated social housing’ says Executive Director Fiona Caniglia.
“The report is clear that plans for an additional 6,365 dwellings by 2025 is far short of what is needed. The list of people waiting for assistance is likely to grow because of increasing rents, rising interest rates, and very little supply in private rental housing”.
“The report highlights a lack of planning for future needs. Q Shelter has called for improved planning and forecasting for all housing supply to meet community needs inclusive of forecasting and targets for social and affordable housing. Queensland is behind other States with only 3.4% of housing supply which is social housing. Across Australia the proportion is over 4%”.
“Q Shelter supports findings that there is a need for improved processes in managing applications. Assessing people’s housing needs is a complex process, which becomes even more challenging when there is a surge in demand. With such a surge in demand, it is understandable that more resources are needed to ensure good assessment and to ensure active engagement with people on the register”.
“Similarly, helping households to downsize to reduce underoccupancy requires careful engagement, time, and resources. There also needs to be an alternative home for people to go to which can be a barrier in the current market”.
The report highlights a total portfolio of 74,133 social housing dwellings inclusive of 18,855 dwellings in the community housing sector. The surge in demand warrants full examination of an expanded role for community housing providers.
“If community housing providers could manage more social housing tenancies and also hold title to the properties that they manage, then the combination of increased equity and cash flow means they can debt finance growth. Q Shelter has called for title and stock management transfers to accelerate growth in supply.”
“We have also called for more State investment in capital funding for affordable housing products available at a discounted market rent. This prevents many households from requiring social housing because there are more upstream options which help them prevent progression to homelessness.”
“Affordable housing products mixed with social housing products help improve the sustainability of communities and is a context for more viable financial models to deliver much needed housing over time”.
Q Shelter’s full policy position is available here
For more on Q Shelter head to: www.qshelter.asn.au
Every Queenslander deserves to find affordable, accessible, sustainable and secure housing. However, we know some Queenslanders face significant challenges and barriers to achieving this, including older women. The reality is older women are the fastest-growing group of Australians experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Q Shelter’s State Budget submission always includes a range of measures across themes such as:
This year’s Q Shelter submission moved more decisively to articulate preventative upstream measures to ensure the overall health of the housing system as well as preventative support. We effectively proposed ways of increasing the pipeline of housing while reducing the pipeline of people emerging into homelessness through intensive preventative measures that are both systemic and at the level of the individual or household.
Last year’s State Budget delivered a significant commitment to housing growth under three streams of activity. Despite this, the first 12 months of delivery has had some challenges and we analyse the housing measures this year along with a forward plan of how to influence increased spend in the future.
It is important to note that this year’s State Budget sees an expansion in support services. The budget is a big win for improved support measures across DFV, young people, community centres and mental health. The State Government is to be commended for ‘values in action’ with such considered measures which have important impacts for the prevention of homelessness by addressing underlying causes.
There is no new funding for social and affordable housing capital projects in this Queensland State Budget which doesn’t reflect either surging demand or community sentiment. Budget papers instead restate funding available under Queensland Housing Investment Growth Initiative.
The Budget does include $5million over two years to support the capacity of the community housing sector to participate in funding opportunities through the Housing Investment Fund.
The Budget papers include mention of $541.3 million in 2022-23 for government managed rental rebates which support 54,700 households reflecting only limited increases in the last five years.
Q Shelter’s policy proposal suggested specific measures and targeted capital funding to respond to the needs of young people experiencing homelessness. The Budget includes $29.8 million over four years and $10million per year ongoing to support initiatives that address youth homelessness. This reflects capacity to implement a youth homelessness policy and also funded measures that support the implementation of that policy. Q Shelter will continue to support Queensland Youth Housing Coalition’s role in leading the development of policy and service delivery models that positively address the needs of young people.
Q Shelter commends the increase in the age that young people exit care. Involvement in the child protection system is a significant indicator of the risk of homelessness. Increasing the age provides much greater support at a vulnerable life stage. There is still vital work to implement protocols and practices that prevent any young person exiting care being homeless even at the age of 21.
Domestic and Family Violence
Q Shelter is engaged in activities to improve the housing outcomes of women and children experiencing domestic and family violence. Enhanced funding for support and implementation of measures to address coercive control are welcome. Q Shelter will continue to work on capability-building activities across the community housing sector and private real estate industry to support responses to DFV that achieve tenancy sustainment.
The budget includes new investment in community centres after historically low investment almost since their inception in Queensland. Q Shelter commends the enhancement of core funds and the addition of more Community Connect workers. There is funding for new community centres including at Yarrabilba and in Rockhampton.
Many people searching for housing, visit their local community centre for help. They are an important point of access where people can also become involved and connect with others. This investment will strengthen local access to services and support. Some of this investment is also to address social isolation which we know can have a significant impact on people experiencing homelessness as well as tenants in social and affordable housing. The total investment in this area of $125.6 million is very welcome. The community and neighbourhood centre sector is to be congratulated for a sustained effort to achieve this investment after decades of effort and dialogue.
Improved mental health services
Increased funding for mental health infrastructure and service delivery is very welcome. Mental health is a key driver of vulnerability to homelessness and housing insecurity. Q Shelter has had input to the Inquiry into Mental Health proposing improved support services to ensure people with mental health challenges can find, get and keep housing. We will be working to provide input to how enhanced mental health support programs funded by the State in this budget, can include scope for the mental health workforce optimally supporting positive housing outcomes and the sustainment of tenancies.
Investing in trunk infrastructure
The Budget includes $200 million for the essential infrastructure needed for more new communities across South-East Queensland. A new Growth Acceleration Fund has been created to support the delivery of priority trunk infrastructure needed to develop new communities. Given the need for a pipeline of new homes, investment the acceleration of infrastructure enabling new residential communities to emerge is positive.
This investment is across two funds:
Catalyst Infrastructure Fund: The Catalyst Infrastructure Fund (CIF) of $150 million in equity funding infrastructure needed to develop new communities
Growth Acceleration Fund: a new $50 million fund to support the delivery of priority trunk infrastructure. $15million is allocated to Caboolture West.
Where to next for investment in housing supply
Q Shelter called for an increase in the Housing Investment Fund as well as capital funding for affordable housing projects that would enable CHPs to develop diversified portfolios and to also meet the needs of people upstream.
It is important to reflect that the case for additional funds for the HIF and for the development of affordable housing in this budget will be stronger if we can address implementation issues with QHIGI and seriously accelerate delivery.
We can all work together to address a number of challenges to speed delivery of QHIGI and open up new opportunities for investment by the State and other partners including by:
Rising costs including interest rates, bond rates and wage costs are all a material threat to the delivery of QHIGI. Any delays to implementation of projects will cause further rising costs and the genuine risk of reduced yield from the investment already committed.
The Budget does include $5million over two years to support the capacity of the community housing sector to participate in funding opportunities through the Housing Investment Fund. Q Shelter’s submission included significant proposed measures to support the strength and profile of the community housing sector.
Q Shelter is already engaged with Queensland Treasury, CHIA Qld and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Queensland to advance an Industry Development Plan which must not only invest in individual and organisational capability but drive solutions to the ongoing systemic barriers to growth. This will require resolution of an enabling policy framework that recognises the synergised role of social and affordable housing in meeting community needs.
We are looking to Homes Victoria to understand how the housing build there was underpinned by investment in industry development. We can’t expect to implement $1.9billion in growth projects and engage with a new Housing Investment Fund without attention to policies and strategic projects that address systemic barriers the plague the industry while also ensuring access to tools, resources, expertise and workforce development to ensure implementation succeeds.
The three peaks were already in meetings to progress an Industry Development Plan. As NRSCH emerged in 2013-2014, there was also a significant amount of work on industry development led by the Department. It was the subject of considerable engagement with the Sector. It is time to triangulate the approach by Homes Victoria, the previous work in Queensland and current sector views to accelerate an Industry Development Plan that does some immediate things to support material progress while medium and longer-term approaches are articulated, staged and resourced.
As budget preparations accelerate from October 2022, our challenge as peaks and as a sector is to influence a more enabling policy framework while also accelerating growth projects to demonstrate the capacity is there to do more.
The scale of the crisis is immense which is why Q Shelter’s policy submission articulates an intersecting range of measures. Some would make a considerable difference to supply without additional capital funding. For the sake of households who need solutions now, it is essential to revisit all possibilities with an open sense of inquiry.
On the positive side, enhanced support delivered through community centres, child protection systems, youth homelessness sector, the DFV sector and the mental health sector will make a significant difference. Q Shelter will be working across these systems to ensure programs of support are housing literate and geared to help as many people upstream sustain a tenancy. Nearly 60% of all services that refer into the Service Integration Initiative come from outside of the community housing and specialist homelessness system. Greater support and enablement of those services to respond to housing needs and work within a tenancy sustainment framework can make a significant difference to reducing the pipeline of people who are edging towards homelessness.