Secondary navigation

CQUni students and staff support homeless in Mackay

CQUni students and staff support homeless in Mackay

Published:09 May 2018

1. CQUni Mackay’s Hairdressing team provided trims to Homeless Expo attendees. 2. Robert Gregg enjoyed a fingernail trim courtesy of CQUni’s Aged Care students. 3. Third-year Nursing student Marilyn Bennett (second from left) volunteered with Orange Sky. 4. CQUni’s Hospitality crew supplied food and beverages.

Mackay’s Community Accommodation and Support Agency (CASA) staged its annual Homeless Expo this week at CQUni Mackay’s City Campus to showcase much-needed service and assistance to individuals in need.

CQUni students and staff also donated bags of toiletries and beanies (knitted by staff member Tracey Walker) to CASA to distribute on the day.

The University’s Aged Care and Hairdressing students provided nail-trimming services, men’s shaves and haircuts; and food and beverages were supplied by CQUni’s Hospitality crew.

Education, STEPS and Community Services students and staff were also on hand to provide assistance and information.

“At CQUni we pride ourselves on our commitment to inclusion and giving back to the community; thus, we feel it’s important we take part in and support events such as this,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Engagement, Campuses and Mackay-Whitsunday Region, Professor Pierre Viljoen said.

CASA Manager Lorraine Wirth said last year’s event facilitated the distribution of 150 food hampers, numerous ladies’ vanity bags, 23 swags and loads of blankets, clothes, books and toiletries, 180 ham and salad rolls, 93 kebab meals and 100 cups of soup.

“Thirty-five haircuts, 13 medical and 19 dental checks and 40 flu injections were also issued on the day,” she said.

While CASA is the lead agency in planning the Homeless Expo in Mackay, the event is made possible courtesy of assistance from government and non-government organisations and private enterprises.

CASA, which has been operating in Mackay for more than three decades, is a unique organisation that combines housing provision with support services.

CASA has provided support services to 53 808 clients (male, female and children) in the 2016- 2017 financial year, including 1308 requests for accommodation and 1803 for financial assistance.

In Mackay, CASA delivers an extensive range of services including short-term crisis accommodation, a HomeStay program (to help those at risk of becoming homeless maintain independent accommodation), Community Care (such as domestic assistance and social support) and a Home Modification program.

It is a registered NDIS service which also provides no-interest loans for households on low incomes and administers a limited amount of emergency relief. CASA also manages a number of community housing programs including long-term housing, community-managed studio units for singles, youth transitional housing and 'same house different landlord'.

For more information about CASA and its services visit  You can also find them on Facebook.

The realities of homelessness: 

  • More than 105 000 people in Australia are homeless.
  • 18% are aged 25-34
  • 17% are under the age of 12.
  • Queensland has the second-highest rate of homelessness in Australia (almost 20 000 people).
  • The most common cause of homelessness (23%) is domestic and family violence.