Homelessness FAQ's

What is homelessness?

A person is homeless if they are either:

a.    Living in non-conventional accommodation or ‘sleeping rough’ (sleeping in a car, streets, parks or squatting)

b.    Living in short term or emergency accommodation due to a lack of other options. (going from family and friends with no permanent address)

Housing is a human right

What is being at risk of homelessness?

A person is at risk of homelessness iof they are at risk of losing their accommodation or they are experiencing one or more of a range of factors or triggers that can contribute to homelessness.

Risk factors include:

  • Financial stress (including due to loss of income, low income, gambling, change of family circumstances)
  • Housing affordability stress and housing crisis (pending evictions/ foreclosures, rental and/ or  mortgage arrears
  • Inadequate or inappropriate swelling conditions, including accommodation which is unsafe, unsuitable or overcrowded.
  • Previous accommodation ended
  • Relationship / family breakdown
  • Child abuse, neglect or environments where children are at risk
  • Sexual abuse
  • Domestic / family violence
  • Non-family violence
  • Mental health issues and other health problems
  • Problematic alcohol, drug or substance abuse
  • Employment difficulties and unemployment
  • Problematic gambling
  • Transitions from custodial and care arrangements, including out of home care, independent living arrangements for children aged under 18, health and mental health facilities/ programs, juvenile/ youth justice and correctional facilities
  • Discrimination including racial discrimination (eg. Aboriginal people in the urban rental market)
  • Disengagement with school or other education and training
  • Involvement in or exposure to criminal activities.

Do I need a referral?

No. If you are 18 years and over you may contact our service

How much will it cost?

There is no charge

How do I access the specialist homelessness service? Referral?

You can call into the women’s centre or phone this service

I have a partner, will you still support me?

Yes, men are not able to access The Women’s Centre but The Women’s Centre will still support you

I have children what services can you offer me?

The same as if single.

Playgroup is available for all mothers/carers and their under school aged children

I am escaping domestic violence, what services can you offer me?

Immediate: referral to a women’s shelter

What are women’s shelters?

Crisis accommodation for women and their children who are escaping Domestic Violence or who are homeless.

Long term: support to find, set up and maintain accommodation

I have been given 2 weeks to leave my rental accommodation. What can I do?

The earlier support is accessed the more options there are available. Contact us (link to email)

My parents have kicked me out. What can I do?

Contact us, we will refer you to appropriate services

Sharehouse Youth Accommodation Programme Inc.

Phone: 07 47723868

Iona House Young Women's Shelter - Uniting Care Community

Phone 4775 9100 (after hours) 4773 6202

QYS Townsville Youth Housing & Reintegration Service

Phone: (07) 4723 4172 & (07) 4723 4213

http://www.qys.org.au/programs/townsville-youth-housing-reintegration-service

Kids Helpline - 1800 551 800

I have been sleeping at a friend’s house, but they have asked me to leave

The earlier support is accessed the more options there are available. Contact us (link to email)

Women’s centre activities which aim to decrease isolation and increase community connection.

Under the homelessness service: (links to groups pages”above”)

Stepping Forward: a group for women who have experienced or are experiencing Domestic violence (links to groups pages”above”)

Balancing life: We discuss many topics including, self-esteem- what it is and how do we develop this, understanding healthy relationships, how to be assertive, how to maintain personal boundaries, problem solving and goal setting. (links to groups pages”above”)

In addition, the Women’s Health Service at the women’s centre provides

  • Singing and music group
  • craft group
  • Yoga
  • Playgroup
  • senior women’s group

All activities are free of charge and held at The Women’s Centre, 50 Patrick Street, Aitkenvale

Other services offered at the Women’s Centre for Homeless Persons

Homelessness Connect – links to WC page on other services

Women’s Legal Clinic  - links to WC page on other services

What facilities does the women’s centre offer to homeless women?

Our homelessness service supports women to find and maintain secure, long term accommodation.

During working hours the following facilities are available for use by women.

Internet, phone, basic kitchen (Dishes, microwave, shared fridge) shower facilities, washing machine, lounge, garden.

These are available to all women at the Women’s Centre. When arriving, please check with reception about the use of these facilities.

We do not provide accommodation. We do not have beds for overnight use.

Myths and facts about homelessness

Myth: People choose to be homeless.

Fact: No-one chooses to be homeless. There are many causes of homelessness such as loss of employment, family breakdown, domestic violence, financial problems. Rising costs of rent, housing and general living costs also contribute to homelessness. Anyone can become homeless if their personal circumstances change.. NO ONE is immune! Most people who are homeless want a safe place to live. Being homeless is dangerous and detrimental to health.

Myth: People who are homeless are different.

Fact: Many people who are homeless have families and work histories like everyone else’s. However, they are usually faced with one or more challenges that make maintaining or establishing secure, stable accommodation very difficult. People who are homeless have a right to safety, medical services, social supports and respect; They have the same Human Rights as everyone else.

Myth: People who are homeless are dangerous and make the streets unsafe.

Fact: People who are homeless are more often victims of crime due to their extreme vulnerability. Police information shows that most crime is committed by men between the age of 18 to 30 who have a permanent address.

Myth: The typical homeless person is male, older, single, has alcohol issues and a mental illness.

Fact: This is not true. Homelessness affects all kinds of people: young and old, women and men, families and children. In fact, one of the fastest growing groups suffering from homelessness is young families with children.

Myth: Homelessness is bad for tourism.

Fact: It is the overall character of a place that draws tourists, not the presence or absence of poor or homeless people. Catering for the needs of the most vulnerable is usually respected by tourists. Many international visitors come from places where homelessness is at least as evident as it is here

Crisis numbers

24hr telephone support services available include:

DV Connect

1800 811 811

Homeless Persons
Information Centre

1800 474 753

Lifeline

131 114

Sexual Assault Helpline

1800 010 120 (until 11.30pm)

National Sexual Assault,
Domestic Family Violence
Counselling Service

1800 010 120 (1800 RESPECT)