Supporting our inner-city homeless during G20

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Karyn Walsh, Coordinator of Micah Projects, talks about G20 and its impact on Brisbane’s homeless.

The main challenge of G20 for Micah Projects, a community organisation working with homeless people in the inner city, will be locating temporary accommodation during the G20 period, along with all the other visitors to the city.

“We need to plan ahead”, Karyn Walsh Micah Projects’ Coordinator said.  “Finding temporary accommodation further afield is not about displacing people in crisis during G20, but a response to reduced availability of affordable short-term accommodation in the inner city and nearby locations.”

Ms Walsh said “G20 won’t change how we work with people who are homeless.  For Micah and other non-government organisations we work with, the first response is always to ensure people sleeping rough are safely placed in temporary accommodation.  Short term accommodation is critical to provide safety and a place to start the process of resolving crisis and accessing housing.”

“Like everyone else in the areas affected by G20, people who are living on the streets of Brisbane will be affected by G20” she said, ‘but good communication, working together with police, accommodation providers, mental health services, domestic violence services  and our knowledge of the people we work with, we can mitigate any adverse effects the change inevitably brings. “

Micah Projects funding from government includes funding to broker short-term accommodation, and Micah raises additional funding from the community where exceptional circumstances create additional demand.

Ms Walsh said “Our goal to raise funds to plan for providing people with options is based on experience.  Over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, private donations were received which provided approximately $7,000 in assistance to 5 individuals and 24 families – a total of 38 adults and 56 children – for accommodation, food, housing set up costs and emergency removalist expenses, etc.

Ms Walsh said that Micah’s aspiration for G20 would be that

  • individuals and families in crisis are supported to access services
  • people living on the streets are supported in understanding the locational changes without fear or harassment
  • G20 leaders would spend time addressing homelessness at a global, national and local level in our countries as economies create conditions where so many citizens across the globe are faced with living without a home.

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