Hamilton Residents Express Concerns Over Motel Housing

Residents of Hamilton have voiced their concerns regarding the use of a local motel as emergency accommodation for families without housing.

Situated in one of the city’s most affluent areas, the motel in question has recently become a centre of contention as residents believe it poses an “imminent safety threat” to the community.

In a letter circulated among residents, the community expressed their discontent with the situation. 

“We already have seen some action getting certain people removed, and we need your help to get back to the safe and quiet neighbourhood that we had prior to the placement of these people,” the letter says in part.

The motel, currently used as temporary accommodation for homeless individuals, is managed by Micah Projects, a government-funded homelessness support service. The letter urged locals to contact state politicians, the motel management, and Micah Projects, to reclaim their once safe and quiet neighbourhood.

Concerns and Accusations

The letter points out several concerns, including the conduct of some motel occupants, alleging that Micah Projects had not adequately screened those placed in the motel for shelter or provided ongoing support. 

An anonymous Hamilton resident mentioned a recent incident involving a person with a knife threatening neighbours. 

Micah Projects CEO Karyn Walsh responded by asserting that the organisation is actively addressing community concerns and that problematic individuals have been removed. The arrangement between the motel and Micah Projects has been in place for years, with vacant rooms being used for short-term accommodation for those in need.

According to Ms Walsh, the primary goal is to transition vulnerable individuals from temporary motel stays into permanent homes as quickly as possible. She emphasised that the motel, as a private enterprise, establishes its standards for guest behaviour, and non-compliance may result in eviction.

While Micah Projects has made significant strides in housing homeless families and individuals, the ongoing housing crisis in Australia continues to be a challenge. Factors such as rising rents and property sales have contributed to the issue. 

Ms Walsh stressed the importance of efficient resource allocation and increased government housing to address the crisis and provide affordable shelter to those in need.

Despite community concerns, the Queensland Police Service (QPS) reported no specific increase in reports from the motel’s address. A QPS spokesperson encouraged concerned residents to report suspicious activity online or call 000 in emergencies.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Eviction from Emergency Accommodation 

Following the letter’s release, a homeless family was evicted from emergency accommodation, claiming the family was a threat to community safety.  The family was subsequently moved to another hotel. The motel owner confirmed that the “residents of concern” had vacated the property.

This comes amidst Australia’s housing crisis. Many Australians are forced to live on the streets or in tents due to the situation. The National Shelter and SGS Economics and Planning report that property affordability has declined across most Australian capital cities, with regional Queensland being the least affordable for renters.

Published 10-Jan-2024