Housing funds go begging

IT COULD be the vital ingredient that saves some residents from Gladstone's rental crisis, but cash on offer from LNG companies is not being seized readily enough.

The Community Advisory Service has been provided funds of about $3 million from three LNG proponents to create a rental assistance package in the Gladstone region.

In many ways the program has been successful - about 120 individuals and families have received assistance so far.

However Gladstone Regional Council, which runs CAS, believes there are plenty of renters in the region who would be eligible for the program but have not applied yet.

CAS human and social services co-ordinator Cheryl Bennett had some advice for residents in two minds about applying for assistance.

"We want people to get on the phone and call us," she said.

"A lot of people just assume they won't be eligible for assistance. Please, come and have a chat with us."

The funding program is divided into categories, such as families, single workers, seniors and critical workers.

Ms Bennett said although specific criteria had been created, the organisation had been given some flexibility in how it assessed each case.

She said many people in Gladstone would probably be surprised to learn they were eligible for the assistance, and that had been a barrier in spreading the message.

She said the program could be the difference between somebody staying in Gladstone or leaving town, but now it was important to make sure eligible renters took advantage.

Another factor is the stigma attached to receiving rental assistance, as people see it as a form of welfare, and an unwillingness to ask for help could be holding people back.

Ms Bennett urged people to move beyond feeling applying for assistance was a bad thing to do.


LNG Housing Support Programs

QGC, GLNG and APLNG have contributed a total of $3 million to create a series of rental assistance programs, which are coordinated by CAS, a branch of Gladstone Regional Council

Categories covered by the rental assistance programs include: families, seniors, people under 25 working at least 20 hours per week, people over 25 working at least 20 hours per week and critical workers

Phone CAS on 4976 6350 to find out if you are eligible

Topics:  gladstone regional council lng rental crisis

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