Council adopts policy to reduce Redlands Coast homelessness

Redland City Council today adopted a policy aimed at supporting and reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness on Redlands Coast.

Mayor Karen Williams said homelessness was an issue that impacted all communities.

“The causes of homelessness are varied and complex; and homelessness is often accompanied by other factors such as poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, mental health issues and disabilities and a lack of social support,” she said.

“It is an issue that cannot be resolved quickly but one that needs government and community collaboration.

“Council’s role in responding to homelessness is not well understood and it requires a clear policy position.

“The position adopted by Council is intended to provide a compassionate response to those who are most vulnerable, while at the same time considering the needs of the general community.

“Redlands Coast is a compassionate community that cares for those less fortunate and Council is already working with community groups and government agencies to identify areas for improvement and to help coordinate responses to help those impacted.”

Cr Williams said the policy clearly articulated Council’s commitment towards improving services to those who were homeless and its role and approach in responding to homelessness.

“The policy recognises the complexity of homelessness and the vulnerability of those who are experiencing it while balancing the rights of the public to access and enjoy the use of public space and feel safe” she said.

“The number of homeless people on Redlands Coast is difficult to estimate but 247 people were homeless at the last Census (2016).

“In recent times, there have been instances of homeless people camping in various Council-controlled reserves across the city.”

She said funding for homeless services was the responsibility of the Federal and State governments, which fund specialist services for those combating homelessness and associated social issues.

“The State Government also provides funding for Outreach Access Services to people who are homeless in public spaces and other locations but no service is located or available within Redlands Coast,” Cr Williams said.

“I have written to Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni and have met with him to discuss homelessness across the city.

“I have also separately met with local service providers regarding homelessness.

“In the absence of a funded outreach service, Council officers have been – and will continue – working with community groups and government agencies to build capacity in the service system through a coordinated multi-agency response to homelessness.

“This coordinated response will improve communication between services and improve referral pathways and access to the homelessness service system.”