Salvos join forces to combat housing stress on the Gold Coast
BY CLIFF WORTHING
This year’s Gold Coast Connect 2 Home event on 5 August emphasised supporting those in a housing crisis.
“Over half of our 909 guests were facing financial and housing stress, not homelessness issues,” said Mona Nielsen, Regional Manager, Gold Coast and Toowoomba Homelessness Services, and one of the organisers of Gold Coast Connect2Home.
“So many have never been in this situation before and don’t really know where to start beyond contacting Centrelink or the Department of Housing.”
The annual Connect 2 Home event brings together local council, state government, businesses, community groups and volunteers to provide free services to vulnerable community members, especially those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
The day starts with a hot breakfast followed by a one-stop venue of professional providers offering health and human services, including accommodation information and referral, medical care, mental health, substance abuse, legal, clothing/blankets/food toiletries, identification, veterinary care and take-away bags of information. All services are free of charge and provided within a caring and safe environment.
Since 2020, the vacancy rate for rentals on the Gold Coast has remained below one per cent availability.
“Lots of people really wanted someone to chat to and were just grateful that someone listened to their story,” Mona said. “All the Salvo expressions from the Gold Coast had something to offer, so we were very busy.”
Mona said The Salvation Army Area Leadership Team has intentionally focused on coming together as one to fulfil their common mission and show the love of Jesus.
“Our donations for the day went quickly this year, and people were particularly grateful for the meals and food available on the day to lighten their cost-of-living expenses,” Mona said.
Over 70 support services and 141 volunteers participated in this year’s event.