Finding innovative solutions to homelessness will be a key focus of the 14th annual Gold Coast Homelessness Symposium at Carrara tomorrow (November 7).

Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon, who will be speaking at the event hosted by the Gold Coast Homelessness Network, said it would focus on the region’s ageing population.

“One of the Palaszczuk Government’s key mantras is that every Queenslander deserves the right to a safe, secure and sustainable place to live,” Ms Scanlan said.

“As our population ages, more of those older people are finding themselves homeless.

“It could be for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that people are living longer and running out of money, so may find themselves living with friends, family, in cars or in emergency shelters.”

Chair of the Gold Coast Homelessness Network, Mona Nielsen, said support services were experiencing more inquiries from older residents.

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“Latest statistics show 27.5% of Gold Coasters are aged over 55,” Mrs Nielsen said. “High housing costs on the Gold Coast are contributing to housing stress across all age groups.

“This year’s Gold Coast Homelessness Symposium will aim to give a snapshot of the latest information, how to navigate the system, current supports and innovative housing models.”

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to helping all Queenslanders “live with dignity”.

Mr de Brenni said $500 million had been committed over five-years under the Palaszczuk Government’s Partnering for Impact initiative for specialist service providers across Queensland.

“This includes almost $8 million in Homelessness Program funding to seven support services on the Gold Coast for 2018-19 to provide support to those in need,” Mr de Brenni said.

“We are catching up on the need for more social and affordable housing by building 392 new social homes on the Gold Coast over five years, after the LNP delivered just 52.

“Our Advance to Zero program, a legacy of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, has also so far found homes for 66 people in need on the Gold Coast – 19 of them since the Games finished.

“We have delivered an expanded package of private rental assistance over the next three years to help people keep their rental home or move into one.

“This includes Bond Loan Plus – an 18-month, interest-free loan of up to six weeks rent and a $2000 Tenancy Guarantee for property owners when we assist people into a private rental.”

In 2017/18, Gold Coast households were assisted with 1,365 Bond loans, 439 rental grants and 1,157 RentConnect services.

Tomorrow’s symposium will be held at the City Link Resource Centre, 148 Eastlake Street from 8:30am.

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