You Have A Friend found John Lee and Tracy Read.
You Have A Friend found John Lee and Tracy Read. John Gass

Frustration as homeless grow

A DROP-in centre has been proposed as the answer to Tweed's growing homeless population.

You Have a Friend charity founder John Lee said the lack of crisis accommodation, the lack of toilet facilities and the number of women and men sleeping rough in Tweed Heads is leading to violence.

“There was a glassing around the Catholic Church in Tweed Heads between two of the guys who sleep there. There was a great deal of blood at the entrance of the church which was cleaned up by one of the local parishioners. There are major issues like this happening all the time because so many people are living on the street,” Mr Lee said.

“The drop-in centre is going nowhere. This is a major public issue and a drop-in centre would create a massive dif- ference in the lives of these people.

“We have residents up in arms about this problem, and I don't believe the Tweed Shire Council is doing anything.”

Mr Lee said women who are living on the street are having their children taken away from them because they have no-where to go.

Lunch with Friends charity service founder Denis Pommer said the homeless population is made up of both Tweed new-comers and long time residents.

“We need a drop-in centre because there are so many people who are literally living on the streets,” Mr Pommer said.

“There is nothing in this area for them. A drop-in centre could be controlled with workers and volunteers.

“It is something that is always talked about but nothing is done because it is not seen as a glamorous subject.”

Tweed Shire Council mayor Kevin Skinner said finding a location for a drop-in centre is not an easy task.

“I've had meetings about this and it is extremely difficult to find a place,” Cr Skinner said.

“Council is doing a land

audit to indicate what land we own and if a suitable site could be found, then I would support this.

“It is hard to find a place for a centre like this. Nobody wants it next door to them. It is difficult, but if a location could be found council would support a project like this in the area.”

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