John Lee from homeless charity You Have a Friend is disgusted the the poor are getting so little emphasis during this Federal election campaign.
John Lee from homeless charity You Have a Friend is disgusted the the poor are getting so little emphasis during this Federal election campaign. Sue Gardiner

Politics no friend of the poor, says charity worker

JOHN Lee, from Tweed Heads-based homeless charity You Have a Friend, is disgusted the plight of the poor is getting little attention during this Federal election campaign.

“The single mothers and children, the hundreds of women sleeping on the streets or in their cars, it is just not spoken about while the rich get richer and the poor in numbers increase daily,” Mr Lee said.

The retired software engineer, whose charity feeds and clothes the homeless and poor in Coolangatta, Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah and Chinderah, said his clients’ plight did not rate a mention in either the Coalition or Labor budget.

He said there were single mothers who had just $14 to live on per week after they had paid their bills.

He recently assisted an 80-year-old woman with arthritis who was living rough in Knox Park, Murwillumbah.

He knows of a man who slept in his ute at Murwillumbah for four months with his dog.

“In the Coolangatta area alone, I support at least 10 women who are forced to sleep on the streets aged 30 to 65-years-old,” he said.

He is trying to get Tweed Shire Council support to set up a village of $16,000 domain domes as crisis accommodation for single mums and children.

He wants negative gearing scrapped, which he believes has contributed greatly to the shortage of local affordable accommodation which has become particularly acute over the last two years.

In part, he blames the situation on real estate agents promoting local houses to investment buyers in Sydney and Melbourne, who then charge exorbitant rents.

“When these people are trying to get a place... you’re standing behind 40 or 50 people,” Mr Lee said.

“That did not happen two years ago.

“If you don’t have a house you won’t get a job, if you don’t get a job you won’t have a house.”

He said many people on the street had lost hope “because there is no work and there are no houses”.

It is Federal Labor policy to phase out negative gearing while the Coalition favours its retention.



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