New home, new life, for a man and his dog
- 16 July 2021 3:10PM
The Bayside Housing Service Centre (HSC) is helping to house reformed property offenders, providing a stable base for them to rebuild their lives.
Bayside HSC Manager, Paul, said offenders are offered the chance to participate in the Property Offender Program (POP) as part of a community-based order.
“Those chosen to participate have a history of property offences and there is often a risk of them reoffending,” Paul said.
“They’ve often been caught shop-stealing or breaking into houses, and many are often sleeping rough.
“We often see female participants trying to reunite with their children, so a lot of the participants can have high needs.
“Housing is one part, but participants often need additional support from Child Safety Services and Centrelink and access to employment, mental health, financial counsellors and alcohol and drug services to help them live a better life.”
The POP is led by Queensland Corrective Services and the Queensland Police Service and aims to stabilise participants’ lives by connecting them with these vital services.
According to Katrina, District Manager of the Redlands District Queensland Corrective Services Office, Mr K is one of the POP success stories.
“Mr K had two correctional episodes when he was recommended for the POP program,” Katrina said.
“He was experiencing poor mental health, homelessness and addiction which led to poor decisions.
“He had no social or professional supports and the only personal connection he had was to his dog.”
Paul said Mr K was determined to make a fresh start in a new place.
“We used our Regional Discretionary Fund to find Mr K social housing in Central Queensland and worked with the Redlands Community Centre to relocate him and his dog to a new area with new opportunities,” Paul said.
“While it was a big move for him, Mr K was happy to leave his previous connections and it’s obviously paid off, as he’s maintained his tenancy for 6 months and hasn’t reoffended.”
Katrina said the Bayside HSC team were an invaluable member of the POP Coordination team.
“Paul and the team have improved the outcomes for vulnerable community members such as Mr K,” Katrina said.
“Mr K came into our office in tears before he left, thanking those involved because POP saved his life.
“He spoke of the dark times he had experienced while sleeping in a toilet block but now, he is adjusting well, managing his mental health and completely abstaining from drug use.
“He’s feeling positive about the future and has phoned many times to express his gratitude.”
The Property Offender Program (POP) is an initiative of Keep Communities Safe (KCS), one of the six priorities identified by the Queensland Government under Our Future State: Advancing Queensland’s Priorities. This priority is focused on ensuring the safety and security of Queenslanders and is shaped by evidence that shows that addressing the causes of crime and violence will best prevent crime and keep communities safe.
Find out more about how we help Queenslanders who need access to housing.