Local School Communities facing harsh reality of coast homelessness

In the latest episode of the Homes For Everyone podcast which highlights the heartbreaking and abrupt impacts of the current housing crisis, a local school principal shares details of the distressing reality families are now facing.


Dr. Michael Stewart, Principal of Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School in Caloundra, joined local community champion and property expert Mal Cayley in the studio to share that he is seeing more and more families being directly impacted by the sky-rocketing rents.
Dr Stewart shared that last year the primary school, which has approximately 350 students, lost 12 families as a result of the lack of rentals, one of those including a doctor.


“Out of those 12 families, quite a few are living in cars. It’s a really sad statistic and it’s sad that we’re an extremely wealthy nation but we can’t supply the basic human right of having a house over everyone’s heads.


“These aren’t poor people either. Sometimes there is a stereotype around homelessness, but these are people that do have jobs, they just can’t afford the rents through no fault of their own. There are just little to no affordable rental properties,” Dr Steward added.


He shared his concerns for the families’ social, emotional, and mental health, noting it’s “an expensive time for families with school kids”.
“At this time of the year so many families have extra things to pay for, so on top of struggling to pay for or find a rental, it’s time to get new shoes and books – and if they have older kids, laptops.


“Housing is such an expensive part of a wage and with the rents being extremely high, parents can’t afford to put their kids in sports or will struggle to feed them at times.”


As a volunteer for St Vincent de Paul Society on top of his role as school principal, Dr Stewart shared his concern for the growing need of these services. “I know Vinnies assisted at least three and a half thousand people with emergency accommodation including caravan parks, hostels and emergency housing … it is alarming that the need is growing,” he shared.

Mal Cayley (L), Dr Michael Stewart (R)


Direct Collective COO and Homes for Everyone founder Mal Cayley believes it’s horrendous the government has failed in the delivery of housing. “This is an emergency and a crisis but it’s not being treated like one. We need the government to treat it like a crisis, appoint the right people, act quickly, and spend the resources. More has got to be done.”


He voiced his concerns about the government’s announcements of building extra homes and said their contribution doesn’t come close to solving the problem. “To put it into perspective we need 5,500 rental properties today on the Sunshine Coast just to solve the rental crisis, and another 2,000 dwellings for the owner occupiers. So somewhere between 7,500 and 9,000 is the number of dwellings we need to catch up with the undersupply here alone.


“When we hear the government come out and say ‘Oh, we’re going to build 1000 homes or even 5000 homes’, they’re not even solving the problem here, that’s how big it is.”


Mr Cayley said Homes for Everyone is about listing the causes, providing solutions to those causes to actually help SOLVE the crisis while bringing everyone together as one voice for the community to demand action at every level of government.


“What each individual can do to help is take 15 seconds to put their name on the Homes for Everyone website to say, ‘We support this initiative’. We can then take it to the government and say, ‘There are 10s of thousands of people who are saying enough is enough’.”
The Homes for Everyone initiative is calling for people to put their digital hand up in support by filling in the form at www.homesforeveryone.com.au so that the collective voice of the community can make real, positive changes.


Listen to the podcast on Spotify, iHeartRadio or visit homesforeveryone.com.au

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