With early estimate suggesting that around 410 homes in north Queensland made uninhabitable following Cyclone Yasi, the state government is taking immediate action to provide safe and secure accommodation for affected families.

Housing Minister Karen Struthers today said the government would provide temporary accommodation and counselling while more permanent solutions were found.

“Family and community ties are strong in North Queensland and many neighbours and friends are providing places to stay for affected families,” Ms Struthers said.

“But we understand that these temporary arrangements can’t be maintained long-term and that’s why we’re working to get people back in their own homes as soon as possible.

“Teams from the SES and Qbuild are looking at which houses can be made safe to live in with minor repairs.

“For Queenslanders whose homes will take longer to rebuild, we will be working with them on a case-by-case basis to get them temporary housing that meets their needs.

“If people want to stay on their own land, we’ll be able to help with caravans and demountable houses that we’re bringing in from other parts of the state.”

Ms Struthers said housing outreach teams had been sent to Tully, El Arish and Mission Beach and would be deployed to Cardwell and Kennedy as soon as roads reopened.

“These outreach teams will be assessing people’s housing situation and getting them the help they need,” Ms Struthers said.

Ms Struthers said Community Recovery centres offering financial and emotional support had been established in Tully and Ayr.

“At the centres, eligible people will be able to apply for Personal Hardship Grants of $170 a person or a maximum of $850 for a family of five or more to help with replacing essentials like food, clothing, medications and accommodation,” she said.

“A family of two adults and three children can potentially access more than $11,000 in non means tested grants from the Premier’s relief fund, Centrelink grants and personal hardship payments.

“There is a range of assistance available and I encourage people to visit the recovery centre or phone the flood recovery line and see what help they may be eligible for.”

Means tested Essential Household Contents Grants of up to $5120 and Structural Assistance Grants of up to $10 500 for individuals and $14 200 for families may also be available to eligible low-income households.

Applications for financial assistance can be made in person at the Community Recovery Centre or by phoning the Community Recovery Line on 1800 173 349.

Information about assistance is also available at www.communities.qld.gov.au.

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