A place to call home for Fraser Coast Families

Cheree*, 33, found herself homeless when she left a dangerous living situation in Victoria. She arrived in Hervey Bay in August last year with her five beautiful daughters and little else.

Scott*, 55, became homeless when his wife left him and their four children. Then the cost of his rented home increased to a price he couldn’t afford.

Both Cheree and Scott were put in touch with Centacare, which found them emergency accommodation and provided support to secure permanent housing.

“I was moving from hotel to hotel and was at the point of sleeping in the car,” said Cheree. “I feel like I’m back to my old self again now, back to where I can be a good mum for my kids.”

Centacare Service Delivery Manager Jodie Anson manages Homeless Accommodation and Housing Support services on the Fraser Coast. Her team walks alongside people who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness to identify immediate supports and pathways to safe and permanent accommodation.

Ms Anson said the team supported more than 170 people last financial year.

“Tackling homelessness goes beyond providing housing,” said Ms Anson. “It’s important to support people from falling into homelessness in the first place. When we do find the housing, we make sure it comes with the support that people need to sustain it.”

Once Cheree was safely established in crisis accommodation, Centacare connected her with childcare for her two youngest daughters. This gave her the opportunity to find part-time employment and establish the financial independence she needed to secure permanent housing.

“Cheree is a very determined mother,” said Ms Anson. “It was important to her that the children maintained as much normality and stability as possible. For her this meant staying in the one place and keeping her school-aged girls at the same school.

“We guided her through the process involved in securing her tenancy, assisting her with the paperwork and making sure she understood her rights and responsibilities. We purchased new beds for her home and secured funding for a brand new fridge and washing machine.

“We keep in contact with her real estate agent to help ensure her tenancy is successfully maintained.”

Cheree and her children were beneficiaries of the Fraser Coast Independent Riders Toy Run, a community initiative which provides toys, gift cards and vouchers for meat, groceries and back to school necessities to families that are doing it tough.

Scott was also determined to stay in Hervey Bay, where his kids are settled. He moved into one of Centacare’s emergency homes in November last year and is currently looking for permanent housing.

“It’s a tough market,” said Ms Anson. “We are talking to real estate agents with him and have supported him with financial counselling and tenancy skills training.  We have received lots of knock backs and emotionally, we support him through that.”

Research commissioned by the Queensland Council of Social Services shows the rate of homelessness in Queensland has increased by 22 per cent since 2017, well above the national increase of 8 per cent.

*The names in this article have been changed.

Are you experiencing challenges with your current tenancy or living arrangements?

Our Housing Support service will work with you to try resolve the issues and sustain your tenancy. Our service operates across the Fraser Coast, South Burnett and Bundaberg regions and in Childers and Gin Gin by appointment.