Concerns for homeless following flood
THERE are signs the recent disaster event could force some to the streets, says the head of a Tweed homeless support organisation.
You Have a Friend founder John Lee said many low-cost accommodation sites were flooded, including Greenhills Caravan Park at South Murwillumbah, and the inundation reduced options for those on or near the poverty line.
Mr Lee said affordable accommodation was already hard to come by in the Tweed and the flood could make matters worse.
"Certainly there's already indications of it (the flood) causing further problems,” he said.
Mr Lee said he had been busy providing food and support to people in Murwillumbah and Chinderah following the flood.
Flood recovery co-ordinator Euan Ferguson told the Tweed Daily News last week that finding accommodation for flood victims had been a key issue.
Mr Lee's concerns follow a resolution between the council and You Have a Friend in a meeting just prior to the floods, to find a solution to part of the homeless problem.
Tweed Shire Mayor Katie Milne said the council would work with the group to set up a space people could use for overnight stays without fear of being fined or asked to move from.
"It was a very positive meeting with John (Lee) and his wife Robyn from You Have a Friend,” Cr Milne said.
"John and Robyn are going to work with council to find a more appropriate place for homeless (people) to park safely overnight that doesn't impact on residents, and also help us identify the genuinely homeless so we are not over-run by travellers just after free camping.”
Cr Milne described it as "a heartbreaking situation” but said there was "goodwill from all concerned for the homeless and I am confident we will find a solution very soon”.
Mr Lee said he was grateful to have been given a hearing and that he looked forward to a solution being announced.
"It was a step in the right direction,” he said.
"I do feel we had a positive meeting and that they want to help, and I'm looking forward to working together to find something to help these people.”