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Church saddened by Cairns homelessness crisis

The Moderator of the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia Rev Bruce Johnson has expressed sadness over the necessary closure of some buildings at the former Good Samaritan facility in Cairns.

The site has been used on a temporary basis by the services of the Good Samaritan Ministries, however the facility needs extensive upgrading to meet building compliance and safety regulations.

“In light of the safety concerns about the Good Samaritan property residents will be assisted to re-locate to more suitable, safe housing,” Rev Johnson said.

“We recognise the shortage of accommodation in Cairns and are working carefully with the appropriate government and community agencies to make sure all residents are cared for well in the transition.”

Residents have been progressively finding new housing and there are now approximately 16 residents needing to be rehoused as soon as possible. The Relocation Assistance Team, a group of agencies brought together by the Department of Communities, is working to find suitable, alternative accommodation for the residents.

Rev Johnson said the Church was keen to develop a long term plan to enable Good Samaritan Ministries to provide support to people needing accommodation in Cairns.

The Cairns Senior Citizens Association currently uses a building on the site, however the building is compliant with safety regulations and they were not asked to vacate.

Earlier this year the Queensland Synod launched the Housing and Homelessness Directory.

This directory is the implementation of a decision made by the 27th Queensland Synod as part of a comprehensive suite of proposals adopted as a response to homelessness. Collaboration between UnitingCare’s Centre for Social Justice and the Synod Communication Services Unit has made this possible.

This initiative is another way the Queensland Synod is seeking to live out its commitment to be a reconciling community called to see Christ in the poor and the marginalised.

Visit www.housing.ucaqld.com.au