ABC News, AM Radio National, Thursday 23 June 2016
Homelessness is a huge issue in the Logan area, with local community services struggling to keep up with growing demand for food and shelter. Rising unemployment, unaffordable housing, mental health and substance abuse issues are all huge factors contributing to problems in the region.
Listen to the interview here:
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Homelessness is a huge issue in the Logan area, with local community services struggling to keep up with growing demand for food and shelter.
Rising unemployment, unaffordable housing, mental health and substance abuse issues are all factors contributing to problems in the region.
AM’s Lucy Carter spent the evening with a group of volunteers who help feed the homeless in Logan Central.
BRIAN HEALY: Cap, a couple of tongs – and that, and that…
LUCY CARTER: At St Paul’s Church in Logan Central, the team from Rosie’s is sorting out donated food, drinks and warm clothes.
Tonight’s group leader, Brian Healy gives a quick briefing before we head out.
BRIAN HEALY: So, if we get you two lads on to serve the drinks, and you two on the food.
LUCY CARTER: Volunteer Francis is driving the Rosie’s van this evening.
FRANCIS: Getting to park not far from the train station in Woodbridge area.
LUCY CARTER: There’s about thirty people are waiting in the car park when we arrive.
I’m told numbers are down because of the State of Origin Game, and that about 90 people normally come on Wednesdays for a meal, a drink or just a chat.
The local mosque is also here, handing out food side-by-side with Rosie’s.
LUCY CARTER: And what brings you here tonight?
VOX POP 1: Actually I had to come up to a group here, a sex offenders group and… I’m on probation.
VOX POP 2: Not last Friday but the Friday before I was homeless. Wasn’t for long.
VOX POP 3: There’s normally an ambulance van down here. The home doctors are here.
LUCY CARTER: So what brings you out here tonight?
VOX POP 4: Usually come here for the rolls, for coffee and that?
LUCY CARTER: Margaret Harvey has run the Logan/Beenleigh branch of Rosie’s for just over a decade.
She says things have gotten worse in that time.
MARGARET HARVEY: I think it’s an issue that has been needing addressing for several years in this area. It needs a lot more government and federal government attention.
Affordable housing is huge, but I think the need for jobs, especially for the young people.
LUCY CARTER: Nationally, Federal Labor wants to halve homelessness by 2025, and has committed to a range of measures including a national affordable housing strategy if elected.
The Coalition hasn’t specifically released a homelessness election policy, but in a statement to AM says it’s invested record amounts in helping our most vulnerable and disadvantaged, including $1.3 billion to states and territories annually through the National Affordable Housing Agreement.
(Phone being answered)
LUCY CARTER: Not-for-profit organisation YFS also delivers services to the Logan region.
Its CEO is Cath Bartolo.
CATH BARTOLO: What I am keen to see for both parties to address is how, what I call ‘joining up the dots’. Basically, often some people are in homelessness for areas such as either domestic violence or unemployment, and we need programs not to be in silos, and just like a dart board – a program here and a program there. We need things to be connected.
LUCY CARTER: Back at the car park, Rosie’s group leader, Brian Healy says politicians aren’t in touch with the needs of people on the street.
BRIAN HEALY: Well, they could come and have a look. (laughs) I’ve never seen a politician come round here at all. But they can see how grim it really is here.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Rosie’s volunteer Brian Healey ending Lucy Carter’s report.
Election 2016: Homeless numbers in Logan City up, services under strain