Every Thursday night, the car park next to Beenleigh train station is transformed into a place of kindness and hope.

It is where Logan’s most vulnerable people come for food, a consultation with a doctor, a shower, a chance to do laundry – or even to get a haircut. And all for free.

There is a sausage sizzle, other hot food donated by local restaurants, and fresh fruit and vegies to stock up on.

Clothing and toys are also on offer, piled up on tables.

And every week, 150 to 200 people rely on it as a lifeline.

But Michaela and John Porter, the  founders of the Nightlight charity which organises the weekly event, say it is also about providing a place where homeless people can just come to talk.

John told *PS Logan: “We ask, ‘What's what's going on?’ We're giving that opportunity to build that relationship. 

“That's what we're all about. Because then we can really truly help rather than just giving out food. But it all starts with the food.” 

Nightlight's founders Michaela and John Porter with a photo of themselves in the charity's early days

Michaela said homelessness has soared in recent months, with whole families living in their cars.

She said: “Especially after the floods, it’s really, really bad."

Others are couch-surfing or staying with friends, which means that while they are technically homeless, they can miss out on help from authorities.

One of those who is sleeping rough on the street is Will, who reached out to Nightlight after hearing about the charity from Mount Warren Sports Centre.

As well as seeking help, he has also offered a bit of muscle to move furniture donated to people in need.

He has been desperately trying to find accommodation for months, without success.

Standing by the pushbike and pet trailer which are now his main assets, Will told *PS Logan: “You know, I've been out there for four months now. And I’m just constantly applying just, there's nothing, like nothing. It's just constantly knockback after knockback. 

“And, like, I just don't understand it. There's all these places being built. But there's no vacancies.”

Van operated by OrangeSky, which provides mobile shower and laundry facilities, and the Street Doctor service

In order to help more people like Will, Nightlight has been working on opening its own crisis accommodation.

Until a couple of weeks ago the charity thought it had secured a home for this purpose, but then it was sold and the new owners rejected its lease.

Michaela said: “We've been trying for a long time now. But it's so hard.”

She added: “The State Government has a monopoly on it. They don't really want to help. We've given them ideas, offered working models from Sydney, and even offered to fly them down (to see the Sydney projects) and everything.”

A report by the Queensland Auditor-General last month found that the number of approved applicants on the housing register waiting list has grown by 78 per cent over the past four years.

It found there are 30,922 households waiting on the register, more than 19,000 of them being “in very high need”.

Bananas are among the fresh fruit and vegies handed out

The State Government plans to invest $2.9billion in social and affordable housing by 2027.

As part of this initiative, the QuickStarts program will see 2,765 homes built across the state, including 302 completed in Logan so far.

Another 59 homes are currently being built in the local government area, with plans for another 178.

Meanwhile, earlier this month a campaign called Logan Zero was launched, bringing together local community organisations, services and government to try to end homelessness in the area.

The project is trying to gather information on all the homeless people in Logan, to ensure that help can be offered in a tailor-made way to each individual.

Volunteers prepare to serve dinner at the weekly event

But Michaela says there is still a huge problem for people trying to access help from official organisations, especially outside normal weekday nine-to-five office hours.

She said: “Nobody becomes homeless during those hours.”

And she added that even government-funded organisations end up reaching out to Nightlight at these times.

She said: “We have the homeless hotline call us and say, ‘You're the only ones that answer the phone after hours’ – and we can't hang up on them.”