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Crisis accommodation fills up in Townsville

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Townsville is facing its worst housing crisis in more than 30 years, according to the city’s social housing service providers.

Key points:
Homelessness advocates say Townsville is facing its worst housing crisis in 30 years

Young families are being turned away from crisis accommodation

A family with a six-year-old child having been living out of motel rooms for months

“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen it” said Ruth Stainbrook, the manager of Family Emergency Accommodation Townsville (FEAT).

Ms Stainbrook said FEAT is being forced to turn away helpless families who do not have a home to live in.

“The reason we’ve got no vacancies in our homelessness housing is people aren’t leaving our housing, where they would traditionally stay three, four or five months, get some money together, move into social housing or private rental. That’s not happening anymore,” she said.

A woman with blonde short hair at her desk working with a laptop
Ms Stainbrook says the region is experiencing its worst housing crisis in 30 years.(ABC North Queensland: Zilla Gordon)
Townsville is facing an epidemic of homeless families, according to Ms Stainbrook, who has worked with north Queensland’s homeless for more than three decades.

“It’s pretty heartbreaking to tell families that you’re either going to be stuck in homeless accommodation for another year or so, or you’re not even going to get the opportunity to get into homeless accommodation,” she said.”

In north Queensland, family homelessness is often hidden from view.

“You don’t see children sleeping on the street with their families [but] it doesn’t mean they’re not homeless. They’re people living in very unsafe situations, maybe with perpetrators of violence, [often in] overcrowded situations. Might be all one family living in one room,” Ms Stainbrook said.

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