Cairns services target displaced residents in Homelessness Week

CUTHBERT Johnstone is one of the 1600 people on Cairns’ housing waiting list.

But unlike many who face homelessness due to mental illness or unemployment, the 65-year-old is stuck in temporary accommodation because he wanted to be closer to medical services.

After suffering a heart attack in June last year, the former Thursday Island taxi driver moved to Cairns in December.

He and wife Nola have been living in Cairns Villa and Leisure Park on Pease St since February.

“The main reason we are here is because it is hard to get private rentals,” Mr Johnstone said.

“This is one of the places we managed to get in without having to fill out heaps of forms.

“I’m on the pension this year so I’m hoping I can get a home.”

He said the park’s bad reputation came from visitors or members of the public who used the area to drink.

“All these people in here we get on well. All the kids are respectable. We’re all just looking for somewhere else to live,” Mr Johnstone said.

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