BIG ISSUE: Homelessness is a growing problem.
BIG ISSUE: Homelessness is a growing problem.

Time for talk on affordable housing in Noosa

IN the first of a two-part series, we talk to founding member of the newly- formed Innovate Noosa and former Noosa councillor Sandy Bolton about housing affordability in the Noosa Shire.

An example of the challenges faced were demonstrated when Sandy picked up a young couple who were sleeping on the street in Tewantin on Easter eve.

"To indicate how desperate our accommoda- tion issue has become, an emergency bed could not be found across the state, and for this young lass with an intellectual disability it has taken over two weeks to source a bed for her, far away in Hervey Bay.”

United Synergies, a Queensland not-for-profit organisation, that works extensively with vulnerable people facing a range of issues including affordable housing and homelessness, said the most effective way to tackle these issues was as a community.

"What not many people fully understand is that homelessness continues to rise and significantly impacts young people under the age of 25,” United Synergies CEO Christopher John said.

"On any given night one in 200 people are homeless in Australia, and around 40% of these people are under the age of 24. In fact almost 20% of these people are under the age of 12.

"The problem is extensive and homelessness is a way of life across much of southern Queensland, including our local Noosa area.

"From the work we do, we know homelessness is connected to affordable housing, and other issues, including domestic and family violence, mental health concerns, as well as employment challenges facing young people,” he said.

Ms Bolton is appealing for the community to support renewed discussion around creative means to solve the affordable housing and living choices dilemmas facing residents.

"It adds to a community's frustrations when 20-plus- year-old issues are repeatedly and erroneously portrayed as emerging concerns that are new and threatening,” she said.

"This issue is not new, and there are national and global examples that could be investigated as part of local solution adaptation.

"In the just-released Housing Needs Assessment it is acknowledged that there is a need to explore "new and innovative solutions, some of which may be challenging to accept”.

"Innovate Noosa is a 'vehicle' to connect ideas to resources, and collectively work towards solutions.

"It is in its infancy, however provides an opportunity for Noosa to tackle some of these historical issues,” she said.

Read more on the issue in Tuesday's Noosa News.