40 people still homeless after Lismore's devastating flood

Brunswick Street running past Trinity Catholic College.
Brunswick Street running past Trinity Catholic College. Marc Stapelberg

MORE than 20 families and individuals in Lismore are still homeless after the events of the March 31 flood.

Social Futures said they have more than 40 clients - 23 from Lismore and the rest from Murwillumbah - still waiting to be housed after the devastation left behind after Cyclone Debbie.

Connecting Homes Program Manager Lance Schema said they received funding from NSW Family and Community Services (FAC) to help house these people as soon as possible.

"Ourselves and North Coast Community Housing were provided some additional funding to help secure some leases for people that were flood affected," Mr Schema said.

"All those people come through our intake log here at Connecting Homes and then they get assigned to Lucie who then works in partnership with North Coast to try to locate housing for the clients."

Lucie White is the Flood Outreach Support Worker in charge of liaising and managing clients with real estate.

She said since she started in the role 12 clients have been house through various means of accommodation.

"It's been six months since the floods, and these people have been living with family, living in crappy old caravans for that length of time, and everyone is getting pretty stressed," Ms White said.

With the funding from NSW FACS Social Futures can help subsidise rent costs by 75%.

Mr Schema said they needed to house everyone "yesterday".

"We have a wait list of people we know their situations, we know where they want to live, we know where they have got community connections and schools," he said.

"The problem with that is if you are staying with family that's great, often a lot of the clients we are talking about have families of their own, so it leads to over-crowding. Even with the best intentions that can wear thin."

"It's just not sustainable in the long term and we're aiming to avoid them going into primary homelessness."

They are calling for property owners in Lismore to help.

"Someone could contact us, a private owner who has got a granny flat and say 'I'm interested in helping out with this project' and we would definitely be able to do that as well," Mr Schema said.

"The real aim is that we are able to find a place that is actually affordable for the tenant, to say after six months to a year that we have helped them, they are able to stay in that house and take it over long term."

Topics:  flood-sixmonths lismore flood 2017 north coast community housing northern rivers housing social futures

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