Push For Council Owned Property To Become Temporary Emergency Housing

Alderman to move motion

Article heading image for Push For Council Owned Property To Become Temporary Emergency Housing

Nikki Davis-Jones

Glenorchy councillor Kelly Sims is calling on council to determine what halls and facilities in the share can be temporarily converted into emergency housing as the weather cools down.

Sims said although many feel that it is not a responsibility of council, action was needed at local government level to combat the “dire” situation.

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“Local governments are the closest level of government to communities and have a responsibility to provide for the health, safety and welfare of their community,” Ms Sims said.; 

At Glenorchy City Council meeting on Monday night, Sims will move a motion which included council to investigate what sites can be repurposed in times of emergency and to establish a homelessness advisory committee. 

“Let me be ultra clear in that I realise shelters are not a humane long-term solution, they are the final safety net that can often scrape extremely close to the ground,” she said.

“But from the feedback I’ve received from those actually living it locally in this weather, especially from those with children, is that having access to a sheltered and safe space, even for a very short period of time, would have been much better than not at all.”

One location in mind is Glenorchy District Football Club, with club president John McCann welcoming discussions with council about using the facilities.

“We’ve got change rooms, they’re open spaces that have showers and bathroom facilities,” he told the Mercury.

“It is a particularly severe winter, and no one should be living on the streets.”

Should the motion be passed, Sims said while the short-term solution will benefit many without a place to keep warm this winter, long-term measures need to be considered.

“There’s simply no housing and that’s the real problem that none of us at this level can meaningfully address,” she said.

“Opening up public spaces with the capacity for short-term emergency shelter during our most desperate times is one thing, but more permanent medium and long-term solutions are needed at both the state and federal level to actually solve the spiralling homelessness epidemic for Tasmania.”

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27 June 2022

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