The tragic death of a baby girl found washed up on the beach has highlighted a shocking crisis of homelessness on the Gold Coast.
Hi, my name is Tony Wiese, I am a director at One Light Charity. I recently addressed society’s biggest challenge in my Blog. Homelessness has existed since the beginning of humankind and has never been solved.
Enough is enough
Behind the Coast’s “glitter” strip is the grim reality for too many people, sleeping rough or in boarding houses, coupled with a culture of drugs, and domestic violence.
The main problem, there is very little affordable accommodation. The waiting time for a housing commission home could be up to 10 years.
Addiction and mental health issues
You have people who have significant mental health issues, and then there is the addiction problem.
Recently a homeless man accused of murdering his nine-month-old baby was remanded in custody after an initial court hearing. His partner, the mother of the baby, was known to have lived in makeshift camps and parks between Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast. The mother has been released from custody and put in the mental health system in Queensland. The toddler has been placed in care.
Rev Brook confirmed that the parents of the dead baby were well known to many regulars at the St John’s Centre. They came to St John’s occasionally for food and other assistance. The mother was desperate for housing. But the situation on the coast is dire. Affordable housing is pretty much prohibitive.
Boarding houses are atrocious
There are boarding houses, but they are appalling places. We have homeless people who rather sleep out under the stars.
I believe that it is this gripping fear of homelessness and loss of self-belief that often causes a deep depression, domestic violence and substance abuse. Some are fortunate to receive help to bounce back, but many do not. We were told by the Salvation Army that tens of thousands of Australian men are destitute living in their cars and cannot provide for their families
It is quite disturbing that in most western countries, like Australia, the homelessness challenge is not a local council responsibility but a state level issue, competing for state funds against roads, police, education and hospitals. The state government public housing departments just do not have sufficient budget to meet the demands for temporary shelter.
A holistic approach is required
Homelessness is a cause very close to my heart. The supply of temporary shelter is just the beginning but does not in itself solve the problem. A holistic approach is required starting with providing the shelter but must be coordinated with food providers, op-shops, counselling, skills & recruitment as well as logistics services to get the vulnerable back to producing income and providing for their families.
The most important outcome is to establish “House of Change” temporary home facilities and services in the community so that everybody knows there is a caring place of refuge where you receive real help to change your circumstances, keep your family unit together, and get back on track. Only then nobody needs to endure that killer fear of homelessness.
In the end, it seems that it will need to be the kindness of Business and their philanthropic leaders coupled with passionate not for profit volunteers that will need to step up to solve the epic social challenge of our time. Together the State needs to be lobbied to make available underutilised buildings for temporary shelter.
About One Light Charity Foundation
The Foundation has been endorsed by the Australian Tax Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR)
The One Light Charity Foundation is a Public Ancillary Fund and exists to make Grants to individuals and other Australian Registered Charities who are also DGRs.
To combat and eradicate homelessness is the most efficient way for big business to meet their corporate social and sustainable development responsibilities. Tony teamed up with the One Light Charity Foundation and believes that working in this area is the most rewarding impact investment any corporation or fund can make in 2019 and beyond.
“I am looking forward to connecting with other CEO’S and not for profits, on the 20th of June 2019. We set up a donation page at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout and would love it if you could support me. Hopefully, together we will be able to find the solution for our beautiful Australia.”
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