Stark evidence of how landlord and tenant legislation has "helped" tenants

In a single-minded attempt to "protect" tenants, the government has made it hard for landlords. So guess what? Landlords are people too so they have got out of the game and sold off the properties they once rented out. Hence the shortage. A government that wanted to help tenants would make it easier on landlords, not harder. I once had six houses that I rented out. I now have none. The battle got too hard

It's an heroic thing when a landlord puts a property worth half a million dollars into the hands of tenants with only a trifling security deposit to protect their interests but it's heroism that is rarely recognized. And no Leftist government will recognize it. Hate and grievance are their themes

Working Queenslanders in the state’s regional communities are being forced into homelessness despite earning a steady income, disturbing both advocates and industry leaders.

Veteran support services have described the dire wave of those squeezed on to the streets as the “new cohort” of Queensland’s homeless.

The alarming reality for those who are employed but displaced was revealed as emergency tents are flown into communities across the breadth of the state, detailing the urgent nature of the state’s housing crisis.

It comes as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last week refused to convene a housing summit amid mounting pleas from stakeholders and advocates for the government to work with industry to develop new ideas to address the state’s housing needs.

Anglicare Central Queensland chief executive Carol Godwin said residents in Rockhampton were burdened with the same tightening of the market which has squeezed the community into insecure housing.

She said there are now low income working families presenting for support who she described as the “new cohort” of homeless regional Queenslanders, which “we have never had in the past”.

“What really has surprised us is we’ve seen significant pressures for those that are even working to secure housing,” she told The Courier-Mail.

“If you’re a young person, even if you’re sharing, forget about any private rental being affordable — it simply is not.

“Even if it was affordable, no one would house you anyway — there’s just nothing there for you.”

The vacancy rate in Rockhampton was crunched to 0.3 per cent, according to SQM Research — a desperate shortfall of available housing experienced in nearly all Queensland communities.

In Toowoomba, where the rate has fallen to 0.4 per cent, the minuscule available stock has led to a near 50 per cent rise in homelessness in three years, Lifeline Darling Downs chief executive Grant Simpson said, citing Queensland Council of Social Service data.

“That’s a phenomenal increase (in homeless people),” he said.

“If you go out further west in Queensland in remote and very remote areas, it exponentially increases out there even more.

“It’s just a very significant issue that seems to be increasing and there doesn’t seem to be a short-term solution to alleviate it.”

Finding a rental in the state’s regional market has been getting tougher, according to locals, even if they have the finances to back them up.

For 25-year-old Amity Ellis, securing a rental in Mackay after moving from her hometown in Tasmania has been “very difficult”.

“I work 38 hours a week on casual wages, and I still can’t seem to find anything,” she said.

“I will apply for a property and have it be unsuccessful the next day.”

Being from interstate also means she has limited options to rely on when house applications fall through each week.

“It’s been very difficult. I’m from Tasmania so I only know a handful of people that can offer me support,” she said.

In the meantime, she’s been fortunate enough to stay with her partner and his family, but the 25-year-old receptionist is keen to get a place of her own.

“My housing is very complicated … I can stay with my partner and his family but they just had a new born baby so it’s a little over crowded,” she said.

Amid the crisis, caravan parks have evolved into makeshift crisis centres across the state with the peak body declaring members are being swamped with the highest ever levels of inquiries.

And Caravan Parks Association of Queensland chief executive Michelle Weston said it was “unusual cohorts” of people seeking immediate refuge.

“Parks that I’ve spoken to have indicated they’ve got families who are living in a tent in their park for a period of up to three months,” she said.

“These are families with young children and two parents who are both working — these are not people who would normally be in a situation where they are without a standard rental property.

“I haven’t seen it at a point like this in the past,” Ms Weston said, who has been operating in the industry for at least a decade.

The alarming reality of the crisis has led to Queensland St Vinnies chief executive Kevin Mercer — along with Ms Godwin, Mr Simpson and about a dozen other stakeholders and advocates — demanding Ms Palaszczuk convene an urgent housing summit.

“The whole system needs to be around the table,” Mr Mercer said.

“It needs to be an action-oriented outcome and there needs to be some real results and real action that comes out of it with a serious investment to get the traction we need in the long term.”

Mr Mercer told The Courier-Mail his charity foundation has resorted to handing out tents in the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns as well as Toowoomba, Roma, Warwick and Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.

He conceded this was an “inadequate response”, but it was also revealing of the scale of the crisis.

“It’s better than sleeping on the street and uncovered but it’s not the right response,” he said, adding that St Vinnies volunteers felt the “anguish” of being forced to provide the emergency option.

“It’s working people who have been displaced out of their homes because they can’t afford the rent increase or the landlord sold the property,” Mr Mercer said.

“They’re working in that community; living in that community; kids go to school in that community, but there’s no living options.”

In outlining the urgency of the need for the state government to convene a summit, Mr Simpson said it was crucial the private sector were included to allow various specialists to contribute to the solution.


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