What happens when you are homeless , are moved on, and have nowhere to go? You move to another spot, in the public domain, and set up yet another temporary place to call home.
That is what happened when the group of homeless people who had been camped at the Brunswick Heads Nature reserve opposite the Surf Life Saving Club were moved on. Five to six members of the group accepted offers of housing outside the shire in a mix of Tweed, Ballina, and Lismore Shires. However, the rest, who say they were not offered housing, moved to the Housie Shed in Banner Park, Brunswick Heads. Now they have been told that they have until 12 today to move on and stud walls are currently being built at all the entrances of the Housie Shed to stop people accessing the space; homeless or not.
The parks and caravan parks in Brunswick Heads are managed by Reflections Holiday Parks and according to the homeless who have been residing in the Housie Shed just over a week ago there were wire fences put up at the entrances to the shed to keep them out.
‘They put up the metal cages and all our stuff was still inside,’ said one of the people who has been living there.
‘We spent a couple of night sleeping under trees, then in the middle of the night someone took out the cages.’
The homeless people said that generally there were between two and five people sleeping rough in the Housie Shed most nights. But after the metal cages were removed and the rain started last week they told Echonetdaily that there were up to 15 people a night seeking shelter and dry place to lay their heads each night.
‘We can hardly close our eyes without being moved on. After they took [a lot] of our stuff when they moved us on [last time] there have been some generous people who have been helping us by providing blankets and cooking stuff.’
There are a number of issues at play from lack of temporary and long term housing availability in Byron Shire to the fact that some of the homeless people have dogs and there is only one temporary housing facility, in Nimbin, that accepts dogs in the region.
‘We are trying to find housing for them and the police and council will be going down to talk to them today at 12 them ,’ said Luke Arthurs Chief Inspector of the Tweed Byron Police.
‘About half of the people from the previous Brunswick camp have taken up offers of housing but so far these people have declined the offer. The police are committed to working with them,’ he told Echonetdaily.
♦ Reflections Holiday Park have been asked for comment this morning.