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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Housing and Public Works
    The Honourable Tim Mander

    Homeless triage service to help Gold Coast’s most vulnerable

    Minister for Housing and Public Works
    The Honourable Tim Mander

    Friday, June 27, 2014

    Homeless triage service to help Gold Coast’s most vulnerable

    A new homelessness project to be trialled on the Gold Coast will target the city’s most vulnerable, including women escaping domestic violence, youth, people with mental or other health conditions and the elderly.

    Housing Minister Tim Mander said the Gold Coast Housing Assistance Triage Service, to be known as Gold Coast HATS, would involve experienced professionals going out into the field to identify and assist vulnerable people, delivering on the election promise to revitalise frontline services.

    “The 15-month pilot program will identify the city’s most vulnerable and provide a more personal and tailored approach to assessing their needs and finding accommodation,” Mr Mander said.

    “Gold Coast HATS will use a triage approach, to prioritise and rapidly match homeless people in the Gold Coast region to the housing and support services they need.

    “It will be led by the Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (Queensland), through its Blair Athol Accommodation and Support Programme, which has a proven record of working with the Gold Coast’s homeless, which dates back 35 years.

    “More than $1.4 million will be dedicated to making this project a reality over the next 15 months, part of our strong plan that will give hundreds of vulnerable people a brighter future.

    “Labor swept the issue of homelessness under the carpet, but we are making a real difference.

    “We are also building stronger partnerships with the Robina Housing Service Centre which will improve access to assistance for homeless people.”

    Elizabeth Fritz, Director of the Blair Athol Accommodation and Support Programme, said the organisation was looking forward to commencing the trial and seeing an improvement in outcomes.

    “During 2012-13, we helped nearly 3,000 people on the Gold Coast who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,” Ms Fritz said.

    “We provide a range of support services for people including crisis accommodation, affordable short-term supported accommodation, outreach services and emotional and practical support for those going through difficult times.   

    “Despite the Gold Coast’s reputation for having a great lifestyle, homelessness is very much a challenge for many people here. We’re excited to be involved in this trial, and we’re looking forward to seeing more positive results for those needing urgent support.”

    Nearly 4,500 people registered as being homeless at some point on the Gold Coast during 2012-13.

    The Gold Coast HATS trial, which runs until September 2015, will provide important information towards the development of a state-wide Housing Assistance Triage System (HATS) for Queensland as part of the Queensland Government’s realignment of homelessness services.

    [ENDS] 27 June 2014

    Media contact:  Martin Kennedy 0418 891 943