TAKES A VILLAGE
Shipping containers could house homeless
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.”