Housing and homelessness
The 2016 census reported 5813 people homeless in Brisbane¹. This figure is based on a broad definition of the term ‘homeless’ and includes rough sleepers, people who are couch surfing and people living in cars, crisis accommodation and boarding houses. Brisbane City Council is addressing homelessness through a number of services and projects.
Homeless Connect brings together businesses, community groups and government organisations to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ of free services for people experiencing homelessness. Support includes:
- housing referrals
- medical support
- legal advice
- food, toiletries and clothing.
Council’s Public Space Liaison Officers (PSLOs) act as the first point of contact between Council and people experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness by engaging with these residents and linking them with support services. PSLOs work with Queensland's Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy and non-government organisations that support homeless people in Brisbane. Several agencies work with ‘rough sleepers’, including Micah Projects Incorporated, Footprints, HART 4000, Brisbane Youth Service, Homeless Health Outreach Team, 3rd Space, the Salvation Army and Vinnies.
PSLOs also provide people experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness with an Essential Contacts Guide (ECG) that lists useful contact numbers for vital services in Brisbane including food and welfare, children and youth, legal issues, health and more.
The Essential Contacts Guide (ECG) is a pocket-sized guide that provides contact details for emergency support. The ECG is distributed to community organisations, service providers and QPS officers who provide assistance to people experiencing homelessness and people requiring emergency support across Brisbane.
Council supports the Red Cross Night Cafe, which was opened by the Australian Red Cross in Brisbane City Hall in 2001. The cafe provides Brisbane's homeless and disadvantaged young people with free meals and access to showers, toilets, health and legal advice two nights per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). The cafe also runs workshops and arts-based activities.
The cafe is located on the basement level of Brisbane City Hall, with access via the exterior door on the Adelaide Street side of the building.
The Community Housing Partnership Project (CHPP) provides crisis and transitional accommodation to people experiencing homelessness in Brisbane and those at risk of homelessness.
Since 2003, Council’s CHPP has supported more than 1,510 people by releasing properties that are either resumed or held by Council for future infrastructure projects to approved community housing providers for transitional housing.
BHC is a not-for-profit organisation established by Council with the Queensland Government. It provides affordable rental accommodation for people on low incomes.
BHC has over 1600 units in Brisbane, with more in development.
The Pathways out of Homelessness grant program provides multi-year funding for up to three years to Brisbane-based organisations to bolster sector capacity, collaboration, innovation and demonstrated outcomes in supporting Brisbane residents experiencing or at risk of homelessness to achieve sustainable tenancies. The program also funds enhancements to existing programs that support pathways out of homelessness.
The Housing Support Program provides funding to community organisations for projects or services that respond to the housing and social needs of homeless people, or those living in social housing.
In March 2023, Council released Brisbane's Sustainable Growth Strategy, our housing and homelessness strategy, outlining initiatives to address the challenges of population growth and changing housing needs.
Addressing homelessness is an increasing challenge for our city and housing is the preferred long-term solution to reducing homelessness.
Council recognises its role as an advocate to encourage the Queensland Government and Australian Government to commit to fund the construction of more social and affordable homes in Brisbane. Meanwhile, Council is creating opportunities to increase housing options across the city through the planning framework.
For more information on Council’s support for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness, phone Council on 07 3403 8888 and ask to speak with the Safe Communities team.
You can also contact Council via:
- the National Relay Service (including video and Auslan relay)
- by phoning Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
¹ Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2016