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Commitment to community sees volunteer win housing honour

Maureen speaking publically 

Maureen Hurst has dedicated over 30 years to helping those in need in Townsville. Taking on various roles, Maureen worked and volunteered in the homelessness sector beginning with the Drop In Centre in 1981.

Now, a public housing complex named in her honour will further assist those in housing need in Townsville. A $4.1 million complex made up of 14 one bedroom homes was named recently, and Maureen was there to enjoy the honour and celebrate her many achievements.

“I was overwhelmed and honoured to have the Pimlico complex named after me. This complex will provide a home to those who truly need it and will make a real difference to their lives”, says Maureen.

Helping housing clients

It was Maureen’s grit, determination and innovation that saw many improvements in service delivery for her clients. Working in partnership with other services, Maureen established a needle exchange program, arranged for doctors to regularly visit the centre and set up a work co-operative.

Maureen was also instrumental in ensuring the survival of NQ Prisoners’ Aid Society and organised for the service to relocate to the Drop In Centre in the mid-1990s.

Maureen recalls that it was a busy time and strong partnerships were essential to achieving better outcomes for clients.

“In the homelessness sector, time and resources are always tight. To find solutions, you need to be creative, build good relationships and form partnerships. When this happens, you can achieve great outcomes for your clients”, Maureen says.

Maureen became an influential regional voice advocating for services to people who were experiencing housing stress and homelessness with the establishment of the Magnetic North Association of SAAP Services (MNASS).

In recognition of her advocacy, Maureen was nominated as a representative to participate in ministerial advisory groups about homelessness, continuing to influence and advocate for people in her local community.

“Through the ministerial advisory groups, we made many achievements, giving a regional voice to an issue that affects many in our community.”

Making a difference

Maureen was active for many years in various Management Committee roles for local human and social service organisations and maintained membership of national peak bodies to keep up with best practice in the field. 

Maureen retired in 2001 but remained an active member of several management committees in the Townsville community until 2013.

“I am really proud of all the achievements made in the sector and am happy that my hard work could have a positive impact in my community. There is no better feeling than knowing that you have made a true difference in someone’s life. Everyone can make a difference in their community, whether working or volunteering in the sector or helping a friend or family member in need,” Maureen says.

Last updated 19 November 2018    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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