TAKES A VIL­LAGE

Ship­ping con­tain­ers could house home­less

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - EMILY BAKER

SMALL vil­lages of ship­ping con­tain­ers fit­ted out as hous­ing units might soon be es­tab­lished across Tas­ma­nia to pro­vide short-term cri­sis ac­com­mo­da­tion for fam­i­lies in need.

Un­der the plan hatched by Speaker Sue Hickey that the Gov­ern­ment last night said was be­ing “ac­tively con­sid­ered”, ship­ping con­tain­ers would be set up along­side space for sup­port work­ers who would help find long-term hous­ing so­lu­tions.

Ms Hickey said her of­fer to brief Cab­i­net on the pro­posal was re­fused, but Hous­ing Min­is­ter Roger Jaensch said it — and Ms Hickey’s call for a com­mu­nity emer­gency hous­ing task­force — were be­ing con­sid­ered.

HO­BART City Coun­cil could soon employ a full-time staffer to deal with Ho­bart’s home­less­ness cri­sis, Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds says.

Cr Reynolds said not enough was be­ing done to fix Ho­bart’s home­less cri­sis and the coun­cil would con­sider fill­ing a ranger po­si­tion to tend to the needs of the city’s home­less.

Each night it’s es­ti­mated about 120 peo­ple sleep on Ho­bart’s streets — about 100 less than Ade­laide, a city with six times more peo­ple than Ho­bart.

“Maybe we’re go­ing to have to look at fill­ing a role to ad­dress the is­sue,” she said.

“Most other cap­i­tal cities around the coun­try have a ranger work­ing on home­less peo­ple’s needs.

“I know we have a smaller bud­get than most cap­i­tals but maybe it’s time to have a ded­i­cated staff mem­ber where it is their only job to en­gage with home­less peo­ple and form sec­tor part­ner­ships.”

Cr Reynolds said the coun­cil was ex­plor­ing prac­ti­cal op­tions, in­clud­ing host­ing a Home­less­ness Fo­rum next week, off the back of lit­tle gov­ern­ment ac­tion on the topic.

“Ho­bart has 20 per cent lower in­come than the rest of the coun­try and in­creas­ing prop­erty prices. I don’t see the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment giv­ing a huge in­vest­ment in so­cial hous­ing to meet the needs of the lower-in­come por­tion of our com­mu­nity,” she said.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

TasCOSS CEO Kym Goodes said the hous­ing cri­sis could be eased if the State Gov­ern­ment car­ried its his­tor­i­cal hous­ing debt owed to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment across the bud­get rather than tak­ing $15 mil­lion from the an­nual hous­ing al­lo­ca­tion. “This would in­crease the spend­ing ca­pac­ity to sup­port those Tas­ma­ni­ans des­per­ate for a roof over their heads,” she said.

“Such al­lo­ca­tion would be a rel­a­tively sim­ple con­trib­u­tor to sup­port­ing our State Gov­ern­ment and Hous­ing Con­nect providers to in­crease availabili­ty so more Tas­ma­ni­ans on the hous­ing wait list can have a place to call home.

“Tas­ma­ni­ans have lost con­fi­dence that the most ba­sic need of some in our com­mu­nity — a home — can be met.”

Anna Reynolds

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