Vinnies calls for State Budget relief as requests for help on the rise
With state charity Vinnies Queensland inundated with calls for help from families at desperation point, CEO Kevin Mercer says it’s vital the 2023-24 State Budget addresses the rising costs of living and housing across the state.
Mr Mercer said last year saw a near 20 per cent increase in requests for help from 2021, with nearly a quarter of people requesting help from the charity having never had to reach out to help before.
“Already in 2023, our numbers are 15 per cent higher than the same period in 2022,” Mr Mercer said.
“Of the people coming to us for help, we’re seeing many new faces – Queensland families with steady incomes who are still falling behind as costs of living and housing continue to increase.”
Mr Mercer said as last week’s cash rate rise reached an 11-year high, causing further pain for homeowners, he was particularly concerned with the growing number of Queenslanders who don’t have any place to call home in the first place.
“Affordable housing is scarce and the state housing waiting list is already around 50,000 people waiting more than two years on average to find a place to live,” he said.
“All across the state, we’ve heard from people sleeping in sheds, cars or tents to survive – not just individuals, but entire families.
“We need urgent intervention to help the growing number of local families experiencing poverty and homelessness.”
Mr Mercer said he was hopeful the recent appointment of a new Minister for Housing, Meaghan Scanlon, would lay the groundwork for a dramatic increase in housing response.
“The Society acknowledges this morning’s announcement of the State Governments investment of $320 million to build an additional 500 homes by 2025,” he said.
“While this is a great step in the right direction, there is still significant opportunity in this budget to further raise our state social and affordable housing targets to provide meaningful help for those escaping homelessness.
“The timely response this housing crisis needs is not going to be easy, or cheap – but it will be worth it in the long run.”
Mr Mercer said Vinnies Queensland supported calls from the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) for at least 6,000 new social and affordable homes built across the state annually.
In the 2021-2022 financial year, Vinnies Queensland provided more than 103,000 nights of accommodation for people in need.
Vinnies Queensland’s 2023-24 State Budget asks:
- At least 6,000 new social and affordable homes constructed annually throughout the state
- Fast-tracking and creating incentives for social and affordable housing developments
- Greater collaboration with community support providers on emergency and crisis responses
- Additional funding for the Housing Investment Fund.