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Appeal for Winter help

Posted: 1pm 12 Aug 2021

Socks, underwear and blankets top the wish list for this year’s Chameleon Youth Housing Winter Appeal.

The appeal is also seeking warm clothing to help the people the service supports.

Chameleon Youth Housing is a specialist homeless service catering for male and female residents aged 16 to 25, as well as young parenting families aged 18 to 25.

Chief Executive Officer Carmel Riethmuller says the service has experienced a dramatic spike in calls for help since the onset of COVID-19 and the need for support is more urgent than ever.

In 2018-19 the charity worked with 342 clients. In 2020-21 it supported 553 – a 24 percent increase.

Carmel says the number of domestic and family violence referrals to Chameleon Youth Housing rose 400 percent year on year, while the time spent on the phone to clients rose by 66 percent and the number of referrals for families needing housing jumped 39 percent.

Impact of COVID-19

Chameleon Youth Housing has been collating the data it is required to report to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare so it can compare the need for support pre-COVID19, during COVID-19, and ultimately post COVID-19 in a bid to better respond to community needs.

Carmel says the data collated so far shows the need for support has skyrocketed since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“It’s been an opportunity for us to look at how COVID’s impacted our community and the Moreton Bay Region,” she says.

“The demand on our service has increased dramatically.

“COVID has changed how we work. People are more vulnerable, more broken.”

Carmel says that as the Peninsula’s 24-hour service, Chameleon Youth Housing fields many calls from people in crisis.

“We’re getting all the emergency calls from people because there are no other services open.

“We had one young man, aged 25, who was released from jail on a Friday afternoon when nothing was open.

“He called us on the Saturday morning – it was June last year – and he just had a singlet and shorts.

“He had called 20 other services and there was no one to get him help.”

Chameleon House helped find him emergency accommodation, and then a more permanent solution, and worked with him to find employment, which he still has a year later, Ms Riethmuller said.

How you can help

Chameleon Youth Housing needs socks, underwear, tracksuit tops and bottoms, blankets.

Items must be new, or you can donate vouchers so they can be purchased.

Phone 3284 4805 or email youthworkers@optusnet.com.au

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