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Council to look at car parks, buses to help those sleeping rough

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A south-east Queensland council has thrown its weight behind moves to bring a specialised bus onto its streets to temporarily house homeless people.

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Sunshine Coast Council has vowed to tackle its homeless problem, with Mayor Mark Jamieson chairing a special roundtable on the issue this week and the council formally commending a community campaign for a bus fitted with sleeping pods to provide shelter for those otherwise forced to sleep rough.

The so-called “Sleepbus” concept, which has helped ease homelessness in other cities, involves fitting out a travelling bus with sleeping pods and toilets to provide temporary accommodation to those who need it.

The Maroochydore Neighbourhood Centre has raised $32,000 of a targeted $100,000 to base a Sleepbus on the Sunshine Coast.

Latest Census figures estimated there are nearly 900 homeless people on any given day on the Sunshine Coast but other estimates range as high as 1600. While the federal government has committed to providing funds for a shelter for homeless men, the problem remains acute in some areas.

The council is also considering trialling opening up places such as car parks to provide alternatives to sleeping rough.

A spokeswoman for the council said it would investigate if council-built facilities could provide “safe, secure overnight accommodation for people in crisis”.

Jamieson, who has referred to an “emerging hosing crisis” on the Sunshine Coast, said the council wanted to work with state government agencies, housing providers and community services to take “collaborative action” on homelessness in the region.

“Homelessness can affect anyone at any point in their lives,” he said.

“It is a complex issue that requires a long-term and systematic effort across agencies, sectors and the community to address.”

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