LOCK OUT: This shelter in Nambour was a haven for the homeless until it was recently barricaded to keep them out.
LOCK OUT: This shelter in Nambour was a haven for the homeless until it was recently barricaded to keep them out. John McCutcheon

Homeless locked out of Nambour shelter

A SHELTER shed in Nambour's main street used by homeless people has been screened off in a move which has provoked a public outcry.

Telstra has installed mesh on the old phone shelter in Currie St following what it described as "concerns about illegal activity" on the premises.

But a number of the move was described as "horrible" and "cruel" on Facebook after someone posted a photo of the "cage", describing it as a disappointing way to deal with homeless people.

A number of dismayed readers expressed concern about some regular occupants of the shelter, particularly two men.

"If they weren't doing any harm they should have been left to stay there," wrote Jessica Marie.

"Terrible... very sad to see this happen. Where's the compassion?" wrote Nicola Dickman.

Dylan Durose and Donna Allen, who used to drop food to men at the shelter, described them as "a good bunch of guys" and gentlemen.

Ms Allen has been trying to find the men to check on their welfare but has had no success.

The men are unlikely to be able to return as Telstra area general manager May Boisen said the shelter, which once housed public phones, would be demolished soon "due to its age and condition".

Homeless Locked Out: A shelter used by homeless people in Nambour has been barricaded and locked.
Homeless Locked Out: A shelter used by homeless people in Nambour has been barricaded and locked.

"In the meantime, it has been secured at the request of the Queensland Police Service who had concerns about alleged illegal activity occurring on the premises," Ms Boisen said.

Nambour police Sergeant Nev Horneman said the occupants of the shelter were technically trespassing and there had been some concerns about the conduct of people there and elsewhere on the Telstra property.

Sgt Horneman said there had been complaints that an occupant of the shed had been aggressive towards people if they approached, that someone had been bathing semi-naked under a hose, and that rubbish and drug paraphernalia had been left lying around.

"At the end of the day, it was a decision of Telstra to do what they have done with the complex," he said.

"They are probably sick of having to clean up the mess. I'm not saying that all persons using the shed were making a mess but a couple of them were making a mess and ruining it for the rest of them, which left Telstra with no option."

Sgt Horneman said support was available from organisations such as the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and The Shack for people who were homeless.