Housing options limited for flood-impacted Queenslanders amid shortage
As Queensland’s record low rental vacancy crisis continues, flood-impacted Queenslanders are resorting to living in homelessness hostels and caravans as they begin the long wait to return home.
Vinnies Queensland CEO Kevin Mercer said vulnerable Queenslanders were already struggling to find available accommodation before the floods hit – now with several thousand homes rendered unliveable, the situation will only get worse.
“We’re getting hundreds of calls a week from flood impacted Queenslanders looking for help – many left homeless for the first time in their lives,” Mr Mercer said.
Mr Mercer said Vinnies was working closely with the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy to find accommodation for flood-impacted residents, especially those leaving evacuation centres with no home to return to.
“Their support is greatly appreciated – but finding an affordable place to live in Queensland has been an uphill battle for quite some time,” he said.
The Park Hotel Manager Edwina Wagland said Vinnies Queensland’s biggest state homeless hostel, The Park Hotel in Spring Hill, has opened several of its rooms specifically for flood-impacted Queenslanders with nowhere to go.
“At The Park Hotel we provide critical support for individuals experiencing homelessness, and for those who have lost everything this is a long and challenging recovery process,” said Ms Wagland.
“The Park Hotel has a whole floor of rooms dedicated for emergencies, but they have been at capacity even pre-floods.
“While we have been able to save some rooms to help flood impacted residents, our state’s housing situation has been in a state of emergency for quite some time.”
As of Jan 2022, rental vacancy rates had plunged below 1 per cent across many parts of Brisbane, and to half a per cent and less for the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
“We can now add thousands of flood-impacted residents to the long list of vulnerable Queenslanders struggling to find an affordable place to live, including the 50,000+ people on the state social housing waiting list,” Mr Mercer said.
His concerns come after recent reports that Australia’s property market prices had its biggest 12-month boom in history, with Brisbane prices up nearly 28 per cent in just a single year.
Mr Mercer said Vinnies Queensland were pushing for a multi-billion-dollar investment in state social housing, beyond the $1.9b that was pledged in last year’s State Budget.
“We are continuing to work with the State Government in finding housing solutions to this crisis and work towards a future where Queenslanders do not need to worry about where they will sleep each night.”
Vinnies Queensland is urging those affected by the floods to reach out and seek the help they need by calling 1800 846 643 or through our online help form.
If you would like to donate to the Flood Appeal and help people to rebuild their lives, call 13 18 12 or visit vinnies.org.au/QLDFloodAppeal22.
In the last financial year, Vinnies Queensland provided more than 101,000 nights of accommodation for people in need.