More than half of people needing help for homelessness in Ipswich are children or teenagers, alarming figures show.
Today, QCOSS will be meeting with community organisations from across the Ipswich region to discuss the issues most affecting residents and frontline services, including homelessness and a surge in requests for rent and food.
Figures compiled by QCOSS show that almost 2,000 people visited Specialist Homelessness Services in the Ipswich City Council area over just one year.
More than half of those people – 54.7 per cent – were children or teenagers.
Meanwhile, the waiting time for Ipswich residents on the social housing register has more than doubled in five years from 11 months in 2017, to about two years in 2022.
St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland Ipswich Regional President Ann Romeo said a housing shortage, exacerbated by the recent floods, was the biggest issue in the area.
“A lot of people at the moment are homeless because where they were renting is uninhabitable, and there is hardly any rental accommodation for them. They are living in tents, caravan parks, camping in the park – wherever they can,” Mrs Romeo said.
“A lot of families are doing it tough. The cost of living is increasing – the cost of food, the cost of transport, the cost of fuel – everything is coming in on top of people, especially people on JobSeeker, they are the ones most at risk of homelessness,” she said.
“We’re seeing an increase in people struggling to pay rent. We’ve been working very hard with them to ensure they are supported enough to stay in their homes and still have enough for food and other essentials. It’s affecting a broad spectrum of people. And I think it is going to get worse as interest rates go up.”
Mrs Romeo said the Society was seeing more people fleeing domestic violence, more single parents with children, more families couch surfing, and the greatest need was for more social housing to be built.
“When you have more than 50,000 people on the waiting list for social housing, you can see what a significant need we have and the pressure that people are under,” Mrs Romeo said.
QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said she was looking forward to meeting with community services from across Ipswich, which were doing an outstanding job amidst the surge in demand for their services.
“It is vital that the Queensland Government continues to build more social housing in the Ipswich area to keep up with the increase in demand created by the floods and the current cost of living and housing crises,” Ms McVeigh said.
“Every Queenslander deserves to have a safe and secure roof over their head, especially children and teenagers, who are disproportionately in need of homelessness support in the Ipswich region, compared to elsewhere in Queensland.”