Ipswich families sleep rough

THERE is not enough short-term accommodation to cope with the growing homeless population in Ipswich, community service workers have warned.

Rising house prices and the January floods have led to a spike in the number of people sleeping on the city's streets.

Recent statistics from the Queensland Council of Social Service show there were 242 people living on the streets of Ipswich and West Morton and another 171 in boarding houses.

Drug Arm spokeswoman Sharyn Cuhn said her organisation could not always find accommodation for homeless people who approached the organisation for help.

"It's getting harder and harder to find somewhere," she said.

Ms Cuhn said immediately after the flood people went to stay with family and friends, but this did not always work out in the long term.

"Living with family and friends... that's fine initially, but after some months it gets hard," she said.

Ms Cuhn said because of the floods there was little affordable housing available.

Ron Lambert is a pastor and founder of Footprints in the Park, an organisation which helps homeless people in Ipswich.

He agreed there had been a significant rise in the number of homeless people since the floods.

He estimated about 15% to 20% of Ipswich's current homeless population were flood victims.

"That's those that I've noticed, but if they don't want to be found we can't find them," he said.

He agreed there was not enough short-term accommodation to deal with the city's homeless.

"When you get flooded out that's one disaster, but when you're told you've got no insurance, that's a second disaster."

Mr Lambert said another problem was that most shelters shut at 5pm and homeless people usually sought shelter outside these hours.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said National Poverty Week this week should bring attention to issues like homelessness in Ipswich and around the state.

He said emergency accommodation was very important in any community. .

"What governments should be doing is looking at a community's needs and addressing them," Cr Pisasale said.

He said Ipswich was running programs to help people to find work and stay off the streets.



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