Advocates for Brisbane’s growing homeless population have called for a civil disobedience campaign to break into unused and empty government buildings to establish emergency accommodations for the homeless.
City Councillor, Jonathan Sri, spoke at a rally after homeless people had recently been displaced, “Right now there are several large state government buildings, and quite a few smaller residential buildings, that are owned by the government, or are owned by the City Council, around South Brisbane that are sitting empty. Some of them have been sitting empty for a couple of years, some of them have been sitting empty as long as a decade.” He said, “I’d suggest to you that we should be breaking down doors, occupying those homes, taking them over and setting them up as crisis accommodation.”
Police arrested a woman at the rally they said was holding a wrench during a group photograph. She was later released without charge after negotiations with officers. Several people said they were going to file complaints about the police actions.
The National Homelessness Monitor estimates the number of homeless people in Brisbane has increased 32% since 2011. In recent years homelessness has been criminalized in the city, people with nowhere to go are frequently harassed, they have their meager shelters and camps along the river repeatedly broken up, their possessions stolen and destroyed. Direct Action is the solution.