HAVING lived on the brink of homelessness herself, Mary Hurst knows how quickly a person's fortune can turn.
The Ipswich mum, who said she struggled to look after her sick daughter after suffering a back injury and losing her job, has recently founded a charity designed to feed and house the homeless of the city.
The Gate - One Chance Charity began on June 1, with Ms Hurst already planning fundraising events to raise money for a homeless shelter.
She has also struck an agreement with McConochie's bakery at Eastern Heights to collect leftover food at the end of the day to distribute to the needy at Queen's Park.
She said she was hoping to make the food handouts a regular event in the park.
"I had a lot of problems - I had a sick child, I was kicked out of university and lost my job as a nurse," she said.
"I found myself on the verge of homelessness a few times and I know how quickly it can happen.
"One day you can be okay and the next you can be facing a lot of problems in your life.
"I wanted to help other people who were struggling."
The scale of the issue in Ipswich did not hit home until Ms Hurst attended a forum for the homeless in d'Arcy Doyle Place in June, where she said she spoke with several people who had nowhere to live.
Since then she has set about approaching businesses across south-east Queensland for support for the cause.
She believes she has had something of a breakthrough in negotiating with the owners of the site of a future Bunnings Warehouse store on Clay St, West Ipswich, to take one of the abandoned houses.
"Now all I need is some land to put it on," she said.
Early signs are good, with 15 businesses signalling their intentions to assist The Gate - One Chance's cause.
"There are a lot of people out there who empathise very much with the homeless," Ms Hurst said.
Although only a small amount of fundraising has been carried out so far, there are plans for a trivia night at the Irish Club in Brisbane on October 13.
Mayor Paul Pisasale has helped Ms Hurst organise a bus from Ipswich Mall at 6pm on the night to take people to the event.
The next big event pencilled in for the calendar is a hip hop gig featuring Justice Crew at the Ipswich Civic Centre.
Ms Hurst is yet to confirm the fundraising gig.