Canberra public housing rebuild sees spike in homeless using shelters

A Canberra emergency shelter has blamed the relocation of public housing tenants for a spike in the number of homeless people seeking shelter this winter.

The volunteers in the three shelters of St Columba’s, All Saints and the Salvation Army, run by Safe Shelter, have provided emergency overnight shelter for 312 “guest nights” over the past 19 weeks, compared with 92 “guest nights” over the same period last year, a more than three-fold increase.

More than 55 people with nowhere to sleep have used the three shelters, which now offer people somewhere to sleep five nights a week.

Safe Shelter coordinator Richard Griffiths blames the ACT government’s relocation of public housing tenants, saying “couch surfers” in public housing now have nowhere to stay.

“A lot of the public housing apartments along Northbourne Avenue and around Civic have been relocated, but all the others that may have been sleeping rough or couch surfing in the flats weren’t offered new locations,” he said.

Click here to read more.