Memeber for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke.
Memeber for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke. Allan Reinikka ROK071118aorourke

$35.5 million plan to help tackle CQ's homelessness problem

ADDRESSING homelessness is an issue close to the heart of Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke who revealed his government's plan to build $35.5 million worth of new social housing for Central Queensland.

To coincide with Homelessness Week, his government announced the plan which would see 60 new homes to be built in the region in the first five years of the Housing Construction Jobs Program (HCJP).

"The Palaszczuk Government's ambitious housing construction program echoes this year's Homelessness Week theme, 'Housing Ends Homelessness'," Mr O'Rourke said.

"This investment means more security for people who need it most - on top of the 28 social housing projects already commenced."

He said this also meant more jobs for Central Queensland, with projects delivered through the HCJP expected to create about 20 full-time jobs per year in the region - providing valuable opportunities for local tradies and apprentices.

Mr O'Rourke said Homelessness Week was also an opportunity to highlight the range of housing services and support on offer to Queenslanders who need a helping hand.

"Homelessness can happen to anyone, at any time, and for many different reasons, such as family and domestic violence, mental illness, relationship breakdown, illness and natural disasters," he said.

"For the better part of 37 years I worked in the Department of Housing and know firsthand how critical prevention and early intervention services are to support people before they reach crisis point.

"The Palaszczuk Government funds a range of services to support people who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness."

"We are investing $5.4 million to fund eight specialist homelessness services in the Rockhampton Housing Service Centre region."

By working together with non-government providers to explore new and innovative ideas, Mr O'Rourke said he would do everything possible to prevent and reduce homelessness while also assisting those who were homeless to live with dignity.

"Projects could include mobile outreach services, food trucks, community kitchen upgrades, drop-in centres and backpacks containing essential supplies," he said.

Through the Dignity First Fund, the Queensland Government has provided $56,000 in funding for local organisations to help provide locals with pathways out of homelessness.

More than $996,000 has been invested through the Rockhampton Housing Service Centre, to fund 951 bond loans and 309 rental grants.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to reducing homelessness across the state.

"One Queenslander being homeless is one Queenslander too many," Mr de Brenni said.

"We recognise that having a safe, secure and sustainable place to call home provides the foundation to achieve success in other areas of life.

"There are many different reasons why someone may find it difficult to get into or hold down a tenancy, and the Palaszczuk Government is making sure we are delivering the services and supporting people who need it most."

The Department of Housing and Public Works offers a range of products to assist customers to access and sustain housing in the private rental market and provide safe, secure and affordable housing for Queenslanders.

These include:

Bond Loans

A Bond Loan is an interest-free and fee-free loan to cover the rental bond when a customer moves into a private rental property. The loan amount is for a maximum of four weeks rent and must be repaid.

Bond Loan Plus

Bond Loan Plus assists customers who want to move into the private rental market but cannot afford to pay the bond and tenancy establishment costs.

Bond Loan Plus allows customers to borrow up to six weeks rent (for bond and two weeks rent) through an interest-free, fee-free loan to be repaid over 18 months.

Rental Grants

A Rental Grant is a one-off payment of two weeks rent to help customers in housing crisis overcome financial barriers to entering private rental housing.

RentConnect

RentConnect helps Queenslanders find and sustain a home in the private rental market.

RentConnect officers provide information and practical assistance to help customers overcome barriers such as limited rental history; lack of skills, knowledge or understanding of how the private rental market works; and a lack of documents required for private rental applications.

The RentConnect response may include financial assistance through Tenancy Assistance which helps customers stabilise their existing private rental tenancy; or the Tenancy Guarantee which provides the owner or landlord of a property financial security to the value of $2,000.

Helping customers in the private rental market

The Department of Housing and Public Works offers a range of products to assist customers to access and sustain housing in the private rental market and provide safe, secure and affordable housing for Queenslanders.

Helping Hand Headlease

Through a Helping Hand Headlease, the department will lease a property in the private market then sublease the property to the tenant. At the end of the headlease period, the customer will enter into a direct lease arrangement with the landlord.

Helping Hand Headlease allows tenants to establish a rental history, increasing the likelihood of them securing a private market tenancy in the future.

No Interest Loan Scheme housing loans

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) housing loans assist Queenslanders who need extra support to set up or continue a private rental tenancy. There are two types of NILS loans:

THE RENT SUSTAINMENT LOAN covers outstanding rent arrears, assisting customers to keep their private rental tenancy and avoid being evicted.

THE SET-UP LOAN covers the cost of starting a private rental tenancy such as removalists, key deposits and essential household goods.

NILS loans are interest-free, fee-free and available up to the value of $2,000. The loans are repayable over 18 months. NILS housing loans are currently being piloted in Cairns and the Gold Coast.

Rental Security Subsidy

The Rental Security Subsidy assists customers with short-term financial support by subsidising their rent. Customers must demonstrate they are able to improve their circumstances within an agreed period while sustaining the tenancy.

Skillsets for Successful Tenancies - Dollars and Sense

Skillsets for Successful Tenancies - Dollars and Sense is an innovative, competency-based tenancy skills training program that develops the tenancy and life skills of people in the private rental market.

The department has partnered with inCommunity Inc., a community housing provider, to deliver this free training program throughout Queensland.

www.tenancyskills.com.au

For more information about private rental market products, visit qld.gov.au/housing/renting/rent-assistance or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68)



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