COVID-19: Hub supports homeless when they need it most
- 23 June 2020 12:56PM
People in need on the Sunshine Coast are accessing vital housing, health and food services at a one-stop-shop services hub.
Initiated by the department, IFYS Ltd and the Sunshine Coast Council, the Homelessness Hub was born through partners sharing their knowledge of the unique needs of people on the coast and working together to find a solution.
James O’Brien, Regional Director Central and North Coast region says that the local teams have been working on a homeless response on the Sunshine Coast for some time.
“This was a natural step for us to talk about as a group how do we get together and come up with a different response,” says James.
The Hub is staffed three days a week by volunteers and local community organisations such as Sunny Street Medical, Orange Sky Laundry, Coast2Bay Housing, Queensland Health’s Homeless Health Outreach Team, Community Solutions, Suncoast Christian Care and United Synergies.
James says the services people in need are accessing varies.
“Some people don’t want accommodation, they just want to come, see the doctor, talk to support service and get some food.”
The range of housing services provided has been wide also.
“Some of it is around advice, but we’ve been headleasing properties, some people are going into social housing, some people will go into the community rent scheme or a crisis property, so it’s really around understanding each individual and what it means for them.”
To a homeless person, COVID-19 was actually a blessing in a way, because it allowed us to come to the hub.
The Hub here was set up in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, IFYS and the Department of Housing and Public Works.
I got into places with the wrong kind of people. Fell for too many hard luck stories and it all ended up and culminated in me getting kicked out on the street.
It’s been a very very tough road. Being a homeless person, the one thing you realise very quickly is just how vulnerable you are – you can die any day.
It’s been sobering seeing people that have had families, full time jobs, successful businesses, yeah, doing it tough at the moment.
Some people are ok where they’re at, they are quite happy in the park or doing it tough, and others have taken up the offer of support and been housed with us.
The IFYS service, they were a great help with three meals a day, accommodation, a safe environment, full security, I had to get used to that, being safe at night. They then linked me with other services.
Sunny Street provides usual medical assistance you’d find in a GP practice, so things like chronic health management, mental health plans, wound care, vaccinations.
Through this Hub the different cases that we’re seeing are people who have been sleeping rough and who have fortunately been housed.
And people who really just need to sit down and say I’m under a lot of stress at the moment and I’m not sure where to go with this.
The silver lining on this response is that we were able to do this very quickly get partners together, and hopefully build something that can be sustainable into the longer term.
To be honest with you it hasn’t sunk in yet.
For me to actually find a place to live, a really nice place to live, wasn’t even in my mind at the time now it allows me to get on with my life and to in the future to maybe see my little girl again.
I don’t know what to say except thank you, and hallelujah.
Not just a roof over their heads
“Before someone is allocated a property, we engage them with a support service. Kyabra operate our HomeStay service, but we also link customers to other services as required.”
For customers like Matthew, the Hub came along at just the right time.
“Without this place and their services, I could still be on the streets sleeping under a stairwell,” he says.
Thanks to the Hub, Matthew has been housed at temporary accommodation at Kawana Waters.
“It’s like a little motel. It’s government and community all coming together to give us this chance.”
The Homelessness Hub at the Sunshine Coast Stadium is open 10am to 3pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, until the end of June.
Find out more about the department’s homelessness response.