The St Vincent de Paul Society in Queensland has pledged to step up efforts to fight rising homelessness following its state conference in Brisbane last weekend.
   Delegates were told homelessness is becoming an increasingly desperate issue.
   The society's state president Tim O'Connor warned afterwards that recent Federal Government figures showing 20% of Australian children live in families that are on the verge of breakdown were conservative.
   Mr O'Connor said the figures were no surprise for the St Vincent de Paul Society, which had been warning of the size of the problem for three years.
   "We are seeing families reaching breaking point," he said. "Both parents lose their jobs and within several years of an impoverished lifestyle the children in desperation leave home and end up in the streets."
   Last weekend's meeting was told that a recent count of homeless people in inner Brisbane revealed that more than 500 could be sleeping on the streets regularly. Of these 44.9% were aged 25-44.
   - Cath Leader


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