Queensland plays funding catchup on homelessness crisis

Crisis accommodation will be given a $64 million funding increase to boost emergency housing across inner-city Brisbane.

Jun 08, 2023, updated Jun 08, 2023
Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon.

Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon.

The extra funding will be handed down in the next week’s Queensland budget and spent purchasing and leasing crisis accommodation sites in the inner-city, including hotels and boarding houses.

It comes as the state government continues to grapple with a shortage of affordable and social housing.

Housing status remains a major poverty risk, with more than half of people in public housing living below the poverty line, data from the Australian Council of Social Services shows.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the boost would be part of a spending package firmly focused on reducing cost-of-living pressures on Queensland families.

“This new accommodation will help purchase, lease and support the operation of emergency accommodation for vulnerable Queenslanders,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“That includes Queenslanders who are homeless, who are at risk of homelessness or who are escaping domestic and family violence.”

Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon, who was promoted to her role last month, said the funds would be a game-changer for people struggling to have a safe and secure roof over their head.

“This will help hundreds of people and families have a safe place to call home,” she said.

Confidential negotiations are already under way to secure the additional housing.

“I can advise that one of them that we’re in negotiations on is a hotel,” Scanlon said.

“So this gives you the scale of the sort of investment that this is to try and assist vulnerable Queenslanders right across the state.”

The state’s housing crisis was the subject of a major summit involving support services, advocacy groups, developers and the government in October.

Opposition housing spokesman Tim Mander said the government had failed to meet the needs of vulnerable people.

“Over the last eight years, there’s only been an additional 1395 social housing properties – that’s a 2.7 per cent increase in eight years,” he said.

Queensland’s population had grown by 12 per cent over the same time period, he added.

“The social housing waiting list has grown by 70 per cent in that time – this is an absolute failure.”

Queensland spends the least on ongoing social housing services nationally when measured against the size of its population, according to Productivity Commission data.

The state’s net recurrent expenditure equalled just over $130 per person in 2021/22.

The figure, which excludes capital expenditure, compares to a national average of $178.76 per person.

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