The release of the new Strategic Housing Issues Paper brings the Fraser Coast’s housing concerns into sharp focus.

The Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre, in partnership with a range of other community organisations*, examined the region’s housing situation and found the Wide Bay is experiencing a surge in homelessness among:

  1. Low to middle income individuals and families being exited from tenancies into homelessness;
  2. Young people;
  3. Women over 50 who are sleeping in cars, couch surfing or staying in short-term accommodation such as backpackers’ hostels due to a lack of affordable rental properties;
  4. People sleeping rough - often with compounding health and social issues;
  5. People requiring transitional housing from prison;
  6. Families under Child Safety orders requiring appropriate accommodation for children to be returned.

As the paper reports, our rental market is at a crisis point, with less than 1% vacancy rate. At least 80% of recent residential sales on the Fraser Coast have been for owner-occupiers.

There is an extreme lack of affordable housing and this is causing blockages in other accommodation services, particularly crisis and short term, as there are no options for residents to move forward.

While there is no easy solution to this ongoing crisis, the report offers a range of short, medium and long-term recommendations including:

  • When required, a daily meal plan to be negotiated between services to ensure that people experiencing homelessness have access to one nutritious meal each day of the week.
  • Identify safe spaces for rough sleepers and continue Community Navigator program to ensure people are supported to access relevant services.
  • Ensure availability of hygiene stations with access to showers and toiletries.

The report also presents recommendations for a range of affordable housing models, including micro-uniting.

How you can help right now

HBNC currently has a range of events and fundraising initiatives on the horizon, giving community members opportunities to support those facing housing stress.

These include the Bay’s Biggest Sleep Out, an overnight fundraising event aimed at raising funds to support local families doing it tough in the Wide Bay region. Participants have the choice to sleep outside, stay the night in the Hervey Bay Community Centre or attend the evening’s activities before heading home to sleep in their own beds. Register for this event here.

HBNC, in partnership with Red Tape Shredders, is also running a major raffle with the grand prize of a brand new MG3 car. Buy your $50 raffle ticket here.

The Kindness Garden at the Hervey Bay Community Centre.

HBNC also makes the Kindness Garden available for those sleeping rough to stay in a safe spot for one or two nights, with the aim of getting connected with support services. The garden is also home to the Bless Box, where donations of non-perishable food and toiletries can be dropped at any time.

Comfort Kitchen, HBNC’s weekly community meal, continues each Wednesday evening at the Hervey Bay Community Centre. To support this valuable meal, make a donation here

*Participating organisations

  • Centacare Fraser Coast
  • Department of Housing and Public Works
  • Regional Housing Ltd
  • Bridges Health and Community Care
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Fraser Coast Regional Council
  • Community Housing Ltd
  • Queensland Health – Mental Health and Specialised Services
  • IMPACT Community Services
  • Red Tape Shredders
  • Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre
    • QSTARS
    • Reconnect
    • Community Navigators