Two men and two women standing in a row and facing the camera. They are standing in front of a St Vincent de Paul banner.
Former hotel becomes refuge for homeless

Former hotel becomes refuge for Brisbane’s homeless

Housing Stress
Social Housing
The Record
13/12/2023 12:00 PM

An unassuming hotel in Brisbane has been converted into a place of hope for people experiencing homelessness in the capital city.

Image: CEO Kevin Mercer, Minister Grace Grace (left) and Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon

By Callum Johnson

Communications and Media Coordinator, St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland

An unassuming hotel in Brisbane has been converted into a place of hope for people experiencing homelessness in the capital city.

After The Park Hotel in Spring Hill was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland and the Department of Housing worked together to re-open the building as a home for people experiencing homelessness.

This partnership between the Society and the Queensland Government is now even more secure in the long-term after the Government officially bought the hotel to ensure it will stay as a place to provide a home to people experiencing homelessness.

The Society will continue to manage the property and onsite teams will support and service its residents, including supporting them in the transition back into the community with longer-term accommodation.

Society staff at the hotel work closely with Members from the local Spring Hill Conference to support residents in building resilience and life skills, including employment support, to prepare them to return to the community and secure long-term housing.

‘We envisioned SVDP The Park as more than a shelter – it’s a place to provide new hope, confidence, and opportunity to Queenslanders experiencing homelessness on their road to permanent accommodation,’ CEO Kevin Mercer said.

‘Our work in supporting Queenslanders through our state housing crisis has shown that we need to focus on long-term support and a road out of homelessness, not just providing temporary help.

‘The Park provides more than just a warm bed to sleep in – our teams work with residents to build the skills, confidence and opportunities to secure safe long-term accommodation.

‘With the purchase of the Park Hotel, our Society looks forward to continuing our fruitful relationship with the Department of Housing and provide even more Queenslanders in need with a renewed sense of hope for the future.’

With capacity for up to 79 residents, The Park Hotel is the Society’s largest homelessness support centre in Queensland.

When a resident is supported to find a permanent home, Members also support them with a Starter Pack of basic household items, linen, bedding, kitchenware, and more to help them get settled into their new lives.

‘We’ve already heard several success stories from former residents since The Park became a homelessness support facility in mid-2021 and I’m sure we will have plenty more to come,’ Mr Mercer added.