Roughly 20,000 people in Queensland alone find themselves homeless. It’s a concerning figure. A quarter find themselves in this situation due to domestic violence and relationship issues, another quarter due to financial difficulties, a small percentage is due to health reasons, and there are also 13 per cent who are in this situation because of care, custody, lack of support and/or discrimination. Yet the biggest reason for homelessness in the ‘sunshine’ state (34 per cent) is due to accommodation issues.
Surely the community would be mortified if they knew these facts; if they knew just how many homeless and needy people are coming through the doors of the Night Ninjas in the Redland City area on a weekly basis. It is a situation that affects a diverse range of people and age does not discriminate. In fact, the largest group of homeless in Queensland (17.3 per cent) are children aged younger than 12 years.
It worries me that those in a position of power don’t seem to want to encourage this not-for-profit organisation focussed on helping people experiencing homelessness by granting it a location for a drop in centre. From what I can gather, government funding continues to go to organisations that are already funded, yet all the paid services in my local area are calling on the Night Ninjas for assistance.
The last five years have been the most difficult of my life, by far. Memories of having to scratch around for milk and bread money are never far from my thoughts. I am hopeful that I’ll never be in that situation again, but the truth is one never knows what is around the corner. Life can change at the flip of a coin. When I look at the Night Ninjas website I often think “There but for the grace of God go I”.
This organisation posts a weekly wish list and I’m surprised at how humble it is. Recently it was asking for ring pull cans of stew, baked beans and spaghetti. Imagine the difference these simple items, ones you and I probably take for granted, can make to the homeless.
I wish that those in power, from members of parliament to local councillors and those who have the opportunity to influence, would stop burying their heads in the sand on such community issues. Schools, local businesses, volunteers are picking up the slack while those who have the ability (and the finances) to make real change ignore the issues. I recall a nursing home that had been sitting vacant for close to 12 months before it was taken over by squatters. It looks as though now some sort of business is being run from that location. How can this be allowed to happen why parents with young children and the elderly are left homeless.
I hear winter this year is going to be particularly cold. It’s time to open the church and community hall doors so that these homeless people have somewhere safe and warm to sleep.