Update: Housing and Homelessness flood response measures
The Queensland Government continues to respond to the housing challenges created by recent Queensland rainfall and flooding. This includes supporting the state’s most vulnerable and providing funding and support for the services sector to respond.
The Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy (DCHDE) has provided the following update including responses to enhance the work being done to address housing need and homelessness through the Queensland Government Recovery Hubs and Centres.
Anyone in need of emergency accommodation can access assistance at their local Housing Service Centre, either in person or by calling 13 QGOV. Referrals to Housing Service Centres can also be made through partners, including Specialist Homelessness Services, local governments, Evacuation Centres or Community Recovery Hubs.
People with disability and people experiencing homelessness or DFV
Accommodation solutions with appropriate supports are being provided based on individual and household needs, including for people with disability and people experiencing homelessness or domestic and family violence.
Increasing accommodation options
Local housing markets are likely to be further challenged by these events. The Queensland Government is considering all options for increasing access to housing supply, with a focus on ensuring people are suitably accommodated. These efforts include:
- working with local hotel and motel partners to book appropriate hotel accommodation for short term accommodation needs
- exploring capacity of previous quarantine accommodation and the quarantine facility at Wellcamp
- securing offers from the private sector, including commercial, holiday, mobile or other short-term rentals.
Funding for crisis accommodation and essential services
To further support people in urgent housing need, a $600,000 Rapid Response Fund has been established. The fund will be used by Specialist Homelessness Services in activated disaster areas to provide essential responses. It will allow Specialist Homelessness Services to support people in temporary accommodation and with items such as food, toiletries, clothing, basic furnishings and health and other supports.
Helping renters to obtain and sustain private tenancies
A range of products, programs and service responses are available to support emerging need for people in the private rental market. The DCHDE have temporarily (until 30 June 2022) removed income eligibility requirements for residents in activated disaster areas who are displaced from their property due to weather events for:
- Bond Loans – interest-free and fee-free loans to cover rental bond when tenants move into private rental accommodation (maximum of 4 weeks rent and must be repaid)
- Bond Loan Plus – interest-free and fee-free loans to cover rental bond plus an amount equal to 2 weeks rent (maximum of 6 weeks rent and must be repaid)
- Rental Grants – one-off grant of 2 weeks rent for people in a housing crisis to help pay for the cost of moving into private rental accommodation.
Supporting social housing households
The Department has commenced assessing and repairing any damaged social housing properties through its partnership with QBuild.
The following relief measures may be available to support individual public housing households who are unable to remain in their homes due to flood related damage to the property requiring repair:
- 4 weeks’ rent relief, with the option to provide additional relief on a case-by-case basis when the household is required to vacate their home for a period beyond 4 weeks
- rent arrears and debt management actions to be paused and individual circumstances managed on a case-by-case basis
- rent reductions associated with household circumstances or changes in income (including reduced income as a result of the floods)
- transfer to another social housing property.
Community Housing Providers (CHPs) have strong relationships with the households they service. CHPs will be best placed to implement rent relief responses in a way that recognises the unique circumstances of each household, and which accords with each CHP’s mission within the social housing system.
CHPs are able to use program funds for immediate temporary accommodation and support for existing customers in activated disaster areas who are unable to remain in their homes due to flood related damage and the property requiring repair.
For the latest information visit the DCHDE website. Assistance is available at local Housing Service Centres, either in-person or by calling 13 QGOV.