Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Brisbane Lord Mayor beds down homelessness call to action

In a call to action, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Lady Mayoress Nina Schrinner have rallied the community to support the 2024 ‘Live Like Her Challenge’, an annual event aimed at providing housing solutions to older homeless women in Brisbane.

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress will join hundreds of participants on September 5, by spending a night in their car at Brisbane Airport to raise awareness and funds for ‘The Forgotten Women’, a Brisbane-based charity committed to providing homes to older homeless women.

The Lord Mayor said homelessness in Queensland has surged by 22% since 2017, with more than 10,000 individuals experiencing homelessness across Southeast Queensland on any given night.

“I have lived in Brisbane my entire life and I have never seen homelessness reach the scale we’re seeing today; It’s shocking, disturbing and it absolutely breaks my heart,” he said.

“Council is doing what we can to assist; We’re waiving infrastructure charges for community housing providers to incentivise the creation of new homes and providing financial support to our frontline homelessness services.

“It’s also why I strongly advocated for two years for the idle 500-bed Pinkenba facility to be transitioned into crisis accommodation.

“There is no silver bullet solution for this crisis; It will take the combined action of all levels of government, support services and the community.

“But we have to come together and be a lifeline for these women; They have to know we have not forgotten them,” he said.

Lady Mayoress Nina Schrinner and patron of ‘The Forgotten Women’ highlighted the vulnerability of older women, describing them as “our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, and friends”.

“It is sad and appalling that women are alone, forgotten and left out in the cold,” Mrs Schrinner said.

“We have to rally around the 850 older women in Brisbane who are homeless on any given night and the countless others who are at risk of homelessness.

“If you can, I encourage you to join the ‘Live Like Her Challenge’ this September and donate to the important cause,” she said.

More than 140 people took part in the 2023 ‘Live Like Her Challenge’ which raised $246,000. ‘The Forgotten Women’ founder Teresa Reed is hoping to double last year’s efforts and raise $500,000 at the September 5 event.

“The Forgotten Women’s mission is to provide suitable housing for older women,” Ms Reed said.

“Older women are living in cars, couch surfing and physically hiding due to the very real threat of family and domestic violence.

“Many are accessing crisis accommodation while others are sitting on the housing register awaiting affordable housing options.

“And sadly, many, many more are living in fear, suffering Domestic and Family Violence with financial and housing supply barriers keeping them from exiting to safety.

“It is a sad reality that many women are living their final years in poverty and homelessness.

“Housing affordability, systemic gender-based financial disadvantage and a lack of superannuation have formed the perfect storm for these women,” she said.

The 2024 ‘Live Like Her Challenge’ is being held at Brisbane Airport in the Skygate multi-deck car park on September 5.

Brisbane Airport CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaff said hosting the ‘Live Like Her Challenge’ for the second consecutive year was a privilege for Brisbane Airport.

“Homelessness remains the urgent crisis of our times,” Mr de Graff said.

“Last year, the largest contingent of participants was from Brisbane Airport, underscoring our community’s commitment to making a difference.

“Congratulations to ‘The Forgotten Women’ for creating this event, as well as the dedicated efforts of the Lady Mayoress and Lord Mayor, whose leadership propels this initiative forward,” he said.

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