Updates

Premier announces immediate response to support Queensland families

Queensland Government media release

The Queensland Government has announced it is implementing a new Immediate Response funding package that will help families who are struggling to secure housing.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Immediate Response would be backed by a $16 million fund.

“My government is providing a $16 million immediate response package to help put a roof over the heads of families doing it tough living in insecure and unsafe situations and help people maintain tenancies,” The Premier said.

“This package includes increased funding for the Rental Security Subsidy of $7 million.

“This $7 million will be used to assist around 700 families to sustain tenancies by increasing the available subsidy from $5,000 over six months to up to $10,000 for 12 months.

“It also includes an extra $6 million for specialist homelessness services to broker additional temporary emergency accommodation.

“There is also $3 million for extra support workers in funded specialist homelessness services to assist families to stay in their current home or secure a new tenancy.”

Minister for Communities and Housing Leeanne Enoch said this support is needed now more than ever.

“We are seeing increasing demand for support from Queensland families right now due to the impacts of COVID-19, the rising cost of living and unprecedented challenges on housing affordability and the private rental market,” Ms Enoch said.

“Many people and families who did not need housing assistance before COVID-19, are reaching out to the Queensland Government for emergency accommodation, housing and support.

“This is about prioritising the needs of families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, including First Nations people, people experiencing domestic and family violence, young people and older people.”

CEO of Micah Projects Karyn Walsh said it is a timely injection of funds, that will be of great benefit to many families.

“This package is very welcome to reduce the burden on families who are currently experiencing the impact of the housing market and reduced options to rent and have a home.

“As a specialist homelessness service we welcome the government responding to calls for more investment to assist us to respond.”

“Homelessness is a traumatic experience for anyone but for families with children not being able to have a home is particularly so especially if coupled with experiences of domestic violence.

Minister Enoch said the Immediate Response would be implemented alongside the Queensland Government’s current efforts to boost longer-term housing supply across the state.

“We are continuing to deliver on our $2.9 billion investment under the Queensland Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021–2025 – the largest concentrated investment in social housing in Queensland’s history,” she said.

“This will increase the social and affordable housing supply by almost 10,000 over the life of the Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2027, including 7,400 new dwellings, of which 6,365 new social homes will be commenced by 30 June 2025 under the Queensland Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021–2025.

“Queenslanders know it can take time to plan and build new homes.

“For this reason, we are actively investigating all types of alternative housing supply options, including factory-built homes, to support our traditional construction program and to make homes available sooner.

“We are engaging with the market to explore all opportunities and will be making an initial call for up to 50 factory-built homes this year to trial this approach.”

Minister Enoch said the Queensland Government recently opened Expressions of Interest for the Help to Home initiative, that aims to deliver 1,000 housing solutions through head-leasing arrangements.

“It targets newly built or existing vacant properties including stand-alone houses, single and multi-unit complexes and properties new to the private rental market, like short-term or holiday accommodation, student accommodation or properties that were previously used for commercial purposes,” she said.

“Under Help to Home the property owner will receive a guaranteed rental income for two years, paid three months in advance, and then every quarter.

“Help to Home will help people on our housing register to secure safe and affordable housing over two years and will target areas of high demand.”

In 2020-21, there were more than 205,000 forms of housing assistance provided to Queensland households or individuals, including emergency housing, social housing, private market assistance and homelessness services.

“In addition to the current unprecedented private rental market conditions, there can be a range of reasons why people have difficulty renting in the private market, including limited rental history, lack of knowledge or understanding of how the rental market works and a lack of required documents, including references,” Ms Enoch said.

“That’s why we are continuing to assist more Queenslanders with housing products and services to help secure a home in the private rental market, including RentConnect, Bond Loans and Rental Grants.

“Our frontline Housing Service Centres are located across the state to provide housing assistance and support to Queenslanders, whether that is accessing or maintaining a home in the private rental market or applying for social housing.

“Anyone needing housing assistance can contact their local Housing Service Centre to discuss housing and support options to meet their needs.”

Find a Housing Service Centre.