Waterford homeless shelter received 40 calls a day leading up to Christmas

SHELTERED By Grace was flooded with an average of 40 phone calls a day leading up to Christmas from people needing a roof over their head.

BIG ISSUE: Maria Vijay, Lyn-Marie Allford, Michael Barrett, Karen Radford, Jason Loakes, Gordan Guy and Kevin Reiblt at the Sheltered by Grace homeless shelter at Waterford in 2018. Photo: Jacob Wilson

BIG ISSUE: Maria Vijay, Lyn-Marie Allford, Michael Barrett, Karen Radford, Jason Loakes, Gordan Guy and Kevin Reiblt at the Sheltered by Grace homeless shelter at Waterford in 2018. Photo: Jacob Wilson

Chairman of the Waterford homeless shelter, Jason Loakes, said it was a tough gig for shelters in the Logan and Gold Coast areas trying to help as many people as possible. 

“We noticed a sharp spike in calls,” he said.

“In the past, it was common to have 10 phone calls a day leading up to Christmas, but this year it was 40 calls a day. We have never had it this bad.

“We noticed a spike in families being homeless, and we aren’t designed to cater for them due to red tape.

“There was also a spike in elderly single men and women over the age of 65 who are homeless. Most of it is due to a break down in families.”

However, Mr Loakes said community goodwill was not in short supply over the festive season. 

“We received a lot of food from local primary schools and a number of individuals in the community wanting to stand up and help cook on Christmas Day,” he said.

“The more people who know about us the more generous people are.”

Sheltered By Grace is not short on success stories.

Mr Loakes said a woman who overcame drug addiction and spent two years at the shelter has found her own unit.

“She was a very unpleasant lady to deal with and they would be the kindest words to use at the time,” he said.

“We turned that around in two years. We made her a volunteer over the past 10 months helping other people.

“She is still involved with the shelter and donating things to charity. She wanted to get well for her children and grand-children.”

Vinnies CEO Peter Maher spoke out against rising homelessness in the Logan area last year.

Census data showed there were 179 more homeless people in Logan in 2016 compared to five years earlier.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, one in every 200 Queenslanders are homeless.

Sheltered by Grace is aiming to increase fundraising targets to pay for upgrades to the facility this year.

To contact Sheltered By Grace call 3200 7145.

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