SOD TURN: Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke, Paynters Project Manager Craig Hornagold and Paynters CQ manager Wayne Lauga turn the sod on their new $3.3 million social housing project at 102 Campbell Street in Rockhampton's inner-city area.
SOD TURN: Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke, Paynters Project Manager Craig Hornagold and Paynters CQ manager Wayne Lauga turn the sod on their new $3.3 million social housing project at 102 Campbell Street in Rockhampton's inner-city area.

Millions spent on Rocky’s social housing generates jobs

FOR the 165 people estimated to be homeless around Central Queensland, a new social housing project in Rockhampton’s CBD offers a ray of hope for the future.

Homelessness is often hidden - with people sleeping rough, in their cars, couch surfing, in hostels or squatting, and because of this many communities consider it a non-issue.

Keenly aware of the plight of those who are homeless or living with housing uncertainty from his experience working in his former role as the boss of the Department of Housing, Rockhampton MP Barry O’Rourke is now tackling the region’s homeless issue, one sod turn at a time.

Rockhampton MP Barry ORourke turns a sod on their new $3.3 million social housing project at 102 Campbell Street in Rockhamptons inner-city area.
Rockhampton MP Barry ORourke turns a sod on their new $3.3 million social housing project at 102 Campbell Street in Rockhamptons inner-city area.

Mr O’Rourke was joined by Paynters Project Manager Craig Hornagold and Paynters CQ manager Wayne Lauga to officially launch the construction of a $3.3 million social housing project at 102 Campbell Street on Thursday.

The partnership between the Queensland Government and award-winning Queensland builder Paynters Pty Ltd. would result in a two-storey complex with 10 new one-bedroom social housing units, which are fully disability-accessible, being built on the site.

“This project will not only provide new homes for Queenslanders who need housing support but will also include 10.5 local jobs throughout its construction,” Mr O’Rourke said.

Weather permitting, he expected the units to be completed and ready for Rockhampton tenants by September.

This construction project is running concurrently in conjunction with another on Denham St which involves 16 homes; 12 one-bedroom, and four 2-bedroom apartments in three two-storey buildings.

Two of the apartments were being built to disability standard under the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines.

Mr O’Rourke said increasing social housing was an important goal for his government.

Rockhampton MP Barry ORourke and Paynters Project Manager Craig Hornagold turn the sod at the Campbell Street project.
Rockhampton MP Barry ORourke and Paynters Project Manager Craig Hornagold turn the sod at the Campbell Street project.

“Central Queensland’s population is projected to grow by 54,900 by 2027, and this will put more pressure on the supply of social housing in our region,” he said.

“The Queensland Government has committed to deliver 60 new social housing homes in Central Queensland over the next five years at an investment of $35.5 million.

“The Campbell Street project will provide much-needed social housing for locals struggling with the rental market.”

Mr O’Rourke said the complex would include a lift, carpark with 10 spaces and functional, covered balconies for each unit and was conveniently located, within easy walking distance to the local high school, shops and a bus stop servicing CQUniversity, Rockhampton CBD and Rockhampton Hospital.

“The units are built to Livable Housing Design Guidelines, with nine at Gold Level and one unit to Platinum Level which is specifically tailored for wheelchair access,” he said.

Paynters general manager Brett Johnston said the Campbell Street development was an important contribution to growing the supply of social housing in Rockhampton’s inner city.

Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke and Paynters Project Manager Craig Hornagold looking over the plans for Rockhampton's social housing project.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke and Paynters Project Manager Craig Hornagold looking over the plans for Rockhampton's social housing project.

“We are thrilled to be working with Queensland’s Department of Housing and Public Works to deliver these 10 new social housing homes in Rockhampton,” Mr Johnston said.

“Over the construction period, this project will employ 105 tradies, including 10 apprentices and trainees.

“Paynters’ reputation has been built over 60 years in Queensland, a foundation based on respect and partnership with our clients.”

In August, AnglicareCQ said it had supported or provided crisis housing for almost 560 CQ people since the start of the year.

About 60 per cent of those seeking help were female, with young people between the age of 20 and 29 years needing the most assistance.

In addition to this, 800 people across CQ have sought emergency relief to assist in a financial crisis - often to assist with obtaining or retaining their housing.

Inquiry launched

More than 116,000 people were estimated to be homeless in Australia on Census night in 2016. Among them were people living in severely crowded dwellings, people living in temporary accommodation, and rough sleepers.

To examine this issue, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs launched an inquiry into homelessness in Australia.

Chair of the Committee, MP Andrew Wallace, said the inquiry would seek to understand the factors that contributed to people becoming homeless, identify opportunities to prevent homelessness, and examine ways to better support the homeless and those at risk.

“Sadly, each night in Australia there are 10s of thousands of people experiencing homelessness. We know that there are many pathways that can lead to homelessness, and through this inquiry we are hoping to understand how we can better support those who face it, and help some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Mr Wallace said.

‘There is a range of services available to support people who are homeless or at risk, and the Committee is particularly interested in hearing from communities around Australia about approaches that are working well, and ideas for improvement.”

The Committee will accept written submissions until 9 April 2020. Further information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference, is available on the inquiry web page. Information about making a submission is available on the Parliament of Australia web page.

Housing help available

The Department of Housing and Public Works offers a range of products to assist customers to access and sustain housing in the private rental market and provide safe, secure and affordable housing for Queenslanders.

These include:

Bond Loans

A Bond Loan is an interest-free and fee-free loan to cover the rental bond when a customer moves into a private rental property. The loan amount is for a maximum of four weeks rent and must be repaid.

Bond Loan Plus

Bond Loan Plus assists customers who want to move into the private rental market but cannot afford to pay the bond and tenancy establishment costs.

Bond Loan Plus allows customers to borrow up to six weeks rent (for bond and two weeks rent) through an interest-free, fee-free loan to be repaid over 18 months.

Rental Grants

A Rental Grant is a one-off payment of two weeks rent to help customers in housing crisis overcome financial barriers to entering private rental housing.

RentConnect

RentConnect helps Queenslanders find and sustain a home in the private rental market.

RentConnect officers provide information and practical assistance to help customers overcome barriers such as limited rental history; lack of skills, knowledge or understanding of how the private rental market works; and a lack of documents required for private rental applications.

The RentConnect response may include financial assistance through Tenancy Assistance which helps customers stabilise their existing private rental tenancy; or the Tenancy Guarantee which provides the owner or landlord of a property financial security to the value of $2,000.

Helping customers in the private rental market

The Department of Housing and Public Works offers a range of products to assist customers to access and sustain housing in the private rental market and provide safe, secure and affordable housing for Queenslanders.

Helping Hand Headlease

Through a Helping Hand Headlease, the department will lease a property in the private market then sublease the property to the tenant. At the end of the headlease period, the customer will enter into a direct lease arrangement with the landlord.

Helping Hand Headlease allows tenants to establish a rental history, increasing the likelihood of them securing a private market tenancy in the future.

No Interest Loan Scheme housing loans

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) housing loans assist Queenslanders who need extra support to set up or continue a private rental tenancy. There are two types of NILS loans:

The rent sustainment loan covers outstanding rent arrears, assisting customers to keep their private rental tenancy and avoid being evicted.

The set-up loan covers the cost of starting a private rental tenancy such as removalists, key deposits and essential household goods.

NILS loans are interest-free, fee-free and available up to the value of $2000. The loans are repayable over 18 months. NILS housing loans are currently being piloted in Cairns and the Gold Coast.

Rental Security Subsidy

The Rental Security Subsidy assists customers with short-term financial support by subsidising their rent. Customers must demonstrate they are able to improve their circumstances within an agreed period while sustaining the tenancy.

Skillsets for Successful Tenancies - Dollars and Sense

Skillsets for Successful Tenancies - Dollars and Sense is an innovative, competency-based tenancy skills training program that develops the tenancy and life skills of people in the private rental market.

The department has partnered with inCommunity Inc., a community housing provider, to deliver this free training program throughout Queensland.

www.tenancyskills.com.au

For more information about private rental market products, visit qld.gov.au/housing/renting/rent-assistance or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68)