WONTHAGGI’S Capital Entertainment hotel will close in two weeks, marking the end of an era of a unique landmark in the town – but leaves even less accommodation options for homeless people and victims of family violence.
And the adjoining Miners Rest Caravan Park will also close soon, according to a key crisis accommodation support service.
SalvoCare Eastern senior manager of Gippsland services, Erin Price, says she’s received written advice that the hotel will close on August 6, and verbal advice the caravan park will close “in the near future”.
The looming hotel closure date aligns with Homelessness Week, an annual ‘week of action’ to help the community understand the causes of homelessness, and the solutions.
The former hotel will make way for a service station and fast food outlets.
While it’ll give the town’s entrance a fresh look, it means there are less places for people in crisis to stay.
“There is significant pressure on current housing stock in all its forms, and of the total absence of refuge or formal crisis accommodation options in the area,” Ms Price said on Monday.
There are already reports of people sleeping in their cars. These are expected to increase when the hotel and caravan park close.
“There will be further significant impact on the community with the closure of these two sites and on service providers’ ability to service and respond to needs of the community.”
She said SalvoCare’s plan is to establish long-term sustainable housing. But with a lack of transport, it creates yet another barrier for those homeless.
There’s a problem in Leongatha were SalvoCare Leongatha face a high number of young homeless people seeking help.
SalvoCare’s seeing around four young people a month who can’t live with their family or are exposed to risks within their family.
And those young people are at risk of falling through the cracks as there is no youth refuge providing accommodation in the region.
The closest ones are in Bairnsdale, Morwell and Dandenong.
Many of the teenagers are still in school or training and just want to stay in the area so they can finish their schooling.
They end up couch surfing or returning to abusive home environments because there’s nowhere for them to go.