Housing and homelessness

What is homelessness?

Homelessness refers to people living on the street, as well as those sleeping in their cars, on other people’s couches and in overcrowded or temporary accommodation. The number of people experiencing homelessness is growing and housing options are not keeping up with the demand. This lack of sufficient housing is exacerbated by additional considerations of family violence, mental health issues and employment difficulties.

According to the 2016 census, there are 1,166 people experiencing homelessness in the Moreton Bay Region:

  • 55 percent are male, 45 percent are female
  • 42 percent are aged 20-39 years, with 24 percent aged 40-59 years, 22 percent are under 19 years and the remaining 12 percent are aged over 60.
  • More than 75 children under 10 are living with a degree of homelessness.

Visit Homelessness Australia and Council to Homeless Persons for more information about homelessness.

Homelessness Week

Homelessness Week is held every year during the first full week of August to raise awareness of the significant number of people who are experiencing homelessness in Australia each night.

For more information, including resources, events and how you can get involved visit Homelessness Australia

Leading the response to housing and homelessness

Housing supply and homelessness are complex and multifaceted issues with all levels of government having a role to play. Council seeks to work collaboratively with the Federal and State Governments to improve support services and address underlying factors placing upward pressure on homelessness, such as lack of affordable housing.

The Queensland Department of Communities, Housing and the Digital Economy (DCHDE) is the lead agency responsible for reducing homelessness in Queensland. DCHDE provide public housing and funding to housing and homelessness service providers. For more information, visit DCHDE.

Moreton Bay Regional Council does not provide housing for persons experiencing homelessness. Council refers persons experiencing homelessness to DCHDE and Moreton Bay Care Coordination team.

How is Council responds to the issue?

When cases of homelessness are identified, Council will seek the person’s details and their consent to pass on their information to the Moreton Bay Care Coordination team for assessment and referral to personal support and accommodation services.

If a person is not homeless or declines assistance, the matter is one of illegal camping and will be managed by Council according to Local Laws. 

Council respects the privacy of people experiencing homelessness and their right to access public amenities and participate in public activities. When a person is participating with support and accommodation agencies, Council will subsequently only engage with a person if:

  • They appear to be in medical distress and require assistance
  • Their personal possessions limit access to or affect the use of public amenities
  • They are not complying with a relevant local law or regulation.

Please phone Council on (07) 3205 0555 if you suspect that a person may be experiencing homelessness and needs support.

Council maintains the privacy and confidentially of all personal information and is unable to discuss individual cases with members of the public. 

What are the responsibilities of persons temporarily staying in public areas?

Due to a lack of temporary and crisis accommodation in the region, a person may have no other option than to stay in public spaces while they wait for a suitable housing solution. Council therefore supports people experiencing homelessness while they actively engage with support services to find suitable and sustainable accommodation.

If persons remain on public land they must:

  • Keep the area tidy
  • Remove rubbish
  • Respect public areas
  • Put down tents and pack away all awnings, chairs and other possessions outside the vehicle and only set up again at the end of the day.

Council can issue compliance and / or infringement notices should a person fail to comply with any of the above directives. Although Council can request people to move on, Council does not have the power to remove people from a public area.

Illegal behaviour in a public place 

If persons are engaging in illegal activity in a public place, for example, committing a public nuisance (behaviour that interferes with someone peacefully being in and enjoying a public place), urinating or defecating, exposing their genitals, or are intoxicated in public, please contact Police Link on 131 444 (24 hours, seven days).

A police officer may request a person leave a public place if they suspect the person’s behaviour is disorderly, indecent, offensive or threatening to another person. 

Public spaces

All people have a right to enjoy and feel safe in public places.

If a person has set up a temporary structure that is unsafe or limits access or use of a public space, a Local Laws Officer will request that the structure is removed.

Similarly, if the storage of personal items limits access or use of a public space, a Local Laws Officer will request that the personal belongings are removed.

Local Laws Officers will consider the circumstances of the person, the impact of the structure and/or personal belongings on the public space before deciding how to respond.

Items that are believed to be abandoned in a public space will be impounded by council. You may phone Council on (07) 3205 0555 if you believe that your personal items have been impounded to find out if we have them and how you can retrieve them.

Local parking rules apply throughout the Moreton Bay Region and all drivers in the Moreton Bay Region are responsible for knowing and complying with these rules.

Need help?

Homeless Hotline

Homeless Hotline is a phone information and referral service for people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Homeless Hotline will provide information about where you can find support, accommodation, meals and showers.

The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Free call: 1800 474 753 or TTY: 1800 010 222.

Ask Izzy

Ask Izzy is a website and app that connects people who are in crisis with the services that they need.

Public and Community Housing

The Queensland Government Department of Housing and Public Works provides housing assistance to people on low to moderate incomes.

Tenancy advice

The Queensland State-wide Tenant Advice and Referral Service (QSTARS) provides free tenancy information, advice and assistance. The state-wide advice number is 1300 744 263.

The regional QSTARS provider for Moreton Bay is Enhance Care. Visit their website or phone (07) 5432 3374 for information.

The Queensland Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) provide tenancy information and support, bond management, dispute resolution, investigations and prosecutions, and education services. Contact the RTA on 1300 366 311.

Moreton Bay Homelessness and Housing Services Guide

The Moreton Bay Homelessness and Housing Services Guide(PDF, 657KB) and Moreton Bay Region Homelessness and Housing Contacts Guide(PDF, 139KB) have been developed by Moreton Bay Regional Council in collaboration with the Moreton Bay Homelessness and Housing Network - a group of organisations that provide services to support people experiencing or who are at risk of homelessness.

Both guides provide information about services available in the Moreton Bay Region to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or who require support to maintain their tenancies.

The Services Guide is a 67 page booklet, whereas the Key Contacts Guide is a wallet-sized card and provides telephone numbers for key Homelessness and Housing services in Moreton Bay.

Want to help?

Learn more

Increase your awareness and learn more about homelessness by visiting the Homelessness Australia and Council to Homeless Persons websites.

Respect

Remember that people who are homeless are people too. Give people who are homeless the same respect and courtesy you would your family and friends.

Donate

The provision of donated goods to people experiencing homelessness is best managed through homelessness services to ensure that people receive the items they need and are connected to ongoing support.

Contact your local neighbourhood centre or homeless service and ask if they accept donations and what items they currently need.

Volunteer

Many homelessness services rely on the generosity of volunteers.

Think about what skills you can contribute and how much time you can commit. Is there a cause that is close to your heart?

Contact your local neighbourhood centre or homeless service and ask if they need volunteers.

Advocate

Visit the Homelessness Australia to learn more and become involved in campaigns to end homelessness.

For more information contact the Community and Cultural Programs team on (07) 3205 0555 or email CommunityDevelopment@moretonbay.qld.gov.au.