Not-for-profit helping fight homelessness spared $135K fee
A Whitsunday councillor has spoken out about homelessness in the region during a council discussion about whether to waive almost $135,000 in charges for a senior living organisation.
Proserpine Senior Living Inc made a request to the Whitsunday Regional Council to waive $134,927.70 in infrastructure charges.
The charges arose out of a development permit given to Proserpine Senior Living in 2014 to construct six, one-bedroom units on Marathon St, Proserpine.
The council refunded the application fee, but the group was still being asked to pay the outstanding infrastructure charges as they did not qualify for a reduction.
A recommendation was brought before the council at this week's meeting to refuse to waive the infrastructure fees, however the recommendation was turned on its head.
Deputy Mayor John Collins said the charges should be waived because it was a not-for-profit group that already operated in the region.
Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford agreed, saying homelessness and partial homelessness was a "great issue in our region".
"Particularly for older people and particularly for older women," she said.
"For older women homelessness is the fastest growing demographic in Australia.
"Through no fault of their own, it may have been through a marriage break-up or there was one case that came across my desk was a lady whose husband and her were caretakers on a property, and he passed away and she had nowhere to go.
"It is a huge problem.
"Anything we could do to support these groups is in the public interest."
Proserpine Senior Living Inc was established in the town 46 years ago and a committee of volunteers runs it to offer low-cost accommodation so seniors can live independently in a secure and safe environment.
The organisation currently operates a total of 48 units and as a community organisation, no government funding is received and revenue comes from rent, grants and donations.
The council unanimously decided to go against the recommendation, deciding to waive the charges for Proserpine Senior Living Inc.