TENANCY advocates have warned that disadvantaged residents could be forced onto the streets if the LNP does not reverse its decision to cut funding to the Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service program.
Tenants who have been helped by the Ipswich branch of the TAAS service joined others in the community to protest the LNP government decision in downtown Ipswich yesterday. But the LNP has said it will not be reversing the decision to cut the $5 million a year funding and has reiterated its commitment to providing housing for the 30,000 families on the social housing register.
Ipswich TAAS co-ordinator Arlene Lewis said five staff would also lose their jobs and added that she was "calling on the government to reverse the decision and reinstate the funding".
"We support over 600 residents in Ipswich alone each month," she said.
"Statewide the service supports 80,000 families per year to sustain their tenancies and to keep them off the public housing waitlist. In Ipswich we get $280,000 a year to run our service. But now the doors will close and there will be nobody to support tenants. We help tenants in court to stay in their houses with payment plans....so they don't end up living in a cardboard box."
Blackstone's Cheryl Ketterwell and her husband are seriously dyslexic and are devastated by the cuts.
"These cuts are very hurtful," Ms Ketterwell said.
"It means there will be no-one to help me and my husband with reading and writing. They (TAAS) have helped me and my husband fight the real estate to get our bonds back a lot. Every time we have to move we got to them to help us fill out the forms. We pay our rent every fortnight. But who is going to be here for us now?"
Ipswich councillor Andrew Antoniolli said the LNP had "thrown out a host of social justice initiatives that will have an affect on crime levels".
"A government is there for all the people, but sadly they have forgotten about the little people. They talk about there being a challenge with social housing at the moment, but the removal of this good program will increase those challenges."
But Minister for Housing Bruce Flegg said that "Labor left Queensland with a $65 billion debt and no money in the forward estimates for public housing".
"The priority must be to ensure that all available funds are channelled to areas of greatest need - and that means putting a roof over the heads of as many of the 30,000 families on the social housing register as possible.
"When there is so much unmet housing need, it is difficult to justify spending millions on a program which...duplicates the functions of the RTA (Residential Tenancy Authority). The RTA already processes roughly three times the number of tenant inquiries as all TAAS services combined."