A Doorways Co-ordinator from the Salvation Army says services are lacking for homeless men with children leaving domestic violence.
A Doorways Co-ordinator from the Salvation Army says services are lacking for homeless men with children leaving domestic violence. Contributed

No refuge for father fleeing with daughters

A FATHER was forced to return his two young daughters to a domestically violent situation due to a lack of "supported in-house" accommodation for men with children.

This claim was made by Mackay Salvation Army Doorways co-ordinator Jennifer Stokes, who said she had to refer the man to a homelessness line for support due to a lack of services.

"He came to see us with his daughters at our Salvo's Connect Centre after the mother had been on some type of illicit drug," Ms Stokes said.

"He had left this unsafe situation with no money for food, no transport and no accommodation to go to.

"We gave him the free call number for the Homelessness Line as there aren't any refugees or hostels in Mackay that cater to men with children who have found themselves in a domestically violent situation."

She said in the end the only option available to him at the time was to go to the Ozcare Men's Hostel, which is for single men only, and to leave the children with the mother until he could find something more permanent.

Mackay has multiple options available for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, with Community Accommodation Support Association one of the main service providers.

CASA manager Lorraine Wirth said every person who came to them was assessed regardless of gender or situation and, depending on their needs, options were made available.

"All of our crisis housing includes a support worker but is short-term, with the main aim being to help people work towards independent housing," she said.

"After they find more permanent accommodation, they are then supported through our Home Stay service.

"The demand for crisis housing is pretty constant, however, at present we are just managing to meet the community's needs."

While Ms Stokes acknowledges The Salvation Army is funded to support women and children experiencing domestic violence, she said the current options still left a "huge gap in services in the Mackay region".

"We have accommodation services for single men, single women and women with children, although there is no stable supported in-house accommodation for men with children in Mackay," she said.

"This is only one example of a common problem, which, although it is not the norm, it is becoming slowly more prevalent."

The Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works supplies much of the accommodation and funding for homelessness services in the state and this financial year has allocated $3.29million to service providers across Mackay.

If anyone is experiencing homelessness or is at risk of becoming homeless in the region, the Department of Housing advises that they should contact the Housing Service Centre by phoning 48629500.