Val Brown and sound engineer James Henderson take a break while setting up the stage for last night’s charity gala
Val Brown and sound engineer James Henderson take a break while setting up the stage for last night’s charity gala JACKLYN WAGNE

Northern Rivers applauds Rudd plan for homeless

AS Val Brown oversaw preparations for last night’s charity gala for the homeless, she was eager to praise the Federal Government’s ambitious plan to halve the number of homeless by 2020 and offer crisis accommodation to every person sleeping rough.

“This mightn’t get there, but it will go a long way to resolving the problem of homelessness,” she said.
The Government will spend $6.2 billion to reduce the number of homeless people by about 52,000 within 12 years.

The plan immediately won applause from welfare organisations across the Northern Rivers.

Peter Boland, a youth worker at Byron Youth Refuge, said homelessness in the region was in crisis.
“Housing in Byron, Ballina and Lismore is almost impossible to get,” he said.  “If you have nurses, fireys and ambos finding it  hard to find affordable housing, how do you think it is for young people who are unemployed or have low-paying jobs?”

The Government report  suggests about 105,000 people are homeless, with 16,000 who ‘sleep rough’.
The remaining 89,000 are either staying with friends or relatives in crisis accommodation. Despite Australia’s recent record boom, the number of homeless has jumped 16 per cent between 2001 and 2006.


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