Goodna Street Life vice-president Steve Purcell, Colleen Hill, Goodna Street Life president Helen Youngberry with Ty, Adam and Eli outside the Weeroona Hotel in Goodna.
Goodna Street Life vice-president Steve Purcell, Colleen Hill, Goodna Street Life president Helen Youngberry with Ty, Adam and Eli outside the Weeroona Hotel in Goodna.

Old pub could house 16 homeless, if approved

A GOODNA charity is fighting to transform the old Weeroona Hotel in Goodna into a safe space for the homeless.

Helen Youngberry founded Goodna Street Life in a bid to help homeless people get off the streets and back on their feet.

She wants to see the old hotel space transformed into Helen's Haven, a refuge providing 16 new beds for the homeless.

"We're going to open up a dry bar, a restaurant, we'll be able to feed the homeless breakfast, lunch and dinner for free," she said.

"We're opening up laundry, shower and toilet facilities that will be open 24/7 for the homeless to use.

"We're going to engage in more services. We've had an offer from a doctor to come in once a fortnight.

"The chemist in Goodna to come down once a fortnight to facilitate scripts, and a nurse from mental health to come once a fortnight."

Some members of the Goodna community have already thrown their support behind the idea with businesses and people donating money and other services to help get the idea off the ground.

"We have been donated a very large substantial donation from the Cecil Hotel that will get this up and running. We've been donated the $25,000 that we need to secure the rental aspect of it," Ms Youngberry said.

The charity has also raised nearly $6000 with locals sponsoring the bricks to form a foundation wall.

Ms Youngberry said she was told that she would need to obtain a material change of use for the space because it would no longer be used as a motel.

She said she was told by council she would need to get approval from the Minister for Housing Mick de Brenni.

Ms Youngberry wrote to Mr de Brenni and has invited him to visit the suburb this week.

An Ipswich City Council spokesman said no formal application had been lodged with council.

"Council has met with representatives and explained that the area has been prone to floods in previous years," she said.

"Council considers putting community services in appropriate locations, particularly to ensure they are operational during a natural hazard."

Ms Youngberry said she intended to open the centre regardless, even if it means opening it as a motel.

"I'm just going to open it. I'm going to open it as a motel like it was. Obtain a liquor license and open it as a motel."


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