Brisbane's homeless feel the chill
Brisbane's wet cold-snap has caught the city's homeless shelters and charities off-guard, with demand for blankets, sleeping bags, beds and rooms in shelters outstripping supply.
With the coldest part of Brisbane's winter usually arriving in late July and continuing into August, the early onset of cold and wet weather has resulted in a spike of applications to various shelters and hostels, including the need for woollen blankets.
Salvation Army Brisbane branch Major Neil Dickson said their crisis accommodation centre in Spring Hill had filled up fast.
Advertisement: Story continues below
“Last week, we still had 10 beds vacant and now we are full to capacity,” he says.
“I also spoke to the manager of the Ozcare Shelter, and they are also at capacity.”
Rosies Youth Mission general manager Bob Boardman has also seen a spike of demand since the cold weather began, with more people needing hot meals and protection from the weather.
“Over the last two months, there's been an increase, and we don't usually see this until late July,” he said.
“We have had an increase in the need for sleeping bags and blankets, and the homeless need to these blankets and sleeping bags. They can't carry around a doona.”
Helen Styles of Micah Projects, which ran the Brisbane Homelessness Service Centre, said being homeless in cold periods could cause a range of health problems, including chronic bronchitis and pneumonia.
“We're always aiming to get people into housing,” she said.
“We've been focusing on people's health that has been ruined from homelessness.”
Micah co-ordinator Karyn Walsh said they are in need of more woollen blankets.
“We're asking people to donate new or second hand blankets in good condition,” she said.
“The great thing about woollen blankets is wool stays warm even when wet.”
Blankets could be donated at the Brisbane Homelessness Service Centre in South Brisbane, or at Micah's office at 162 Boundary Street, West End.
The cold snap is predicted to end on Friday, with rain clearing up later in the day.
Naomi and Peter of the Brisbane Homelessness Service Centre. Photo: Tom Gillespie
International Student Service Centre
Level 4, 239 George St.
Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia
Phone: 61 7 3220 3644
Fax: 61 7 3220 3655