Big step forward for Chameleon Housing

Published 2:00pm 25 August 2022

Big step forward for Chameleon Housing
Words by Kylie Knight

The community has backed Chameleon Housing’s bid to open a second share house for homeless youth, raising more than $100,000 for the project during the inaugural Ausbuild Housing for Happiness Gala on Tuesday night.

About 180 people attended the event at Redcliffe Leagues Club, which included a silent auction, raffle and collection of donations online, and was backed by community developer Ausbuild. It raised more than $103,000.

The event and fundraising campaign were supported by Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT), New Zealand Warriors and Redcliffe Dolphins.

Chameleon Housing is a not-for-profit specialist homeless service which has been assisting young people aged 16-25 years, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, for more than 30 years.

It provides safe and affordable accommodation on the Redcliffe peninsula and surrounding areas and the team works with young people to help them take control of their lives in a supported, strength-based environment.

Chameleon Housing Chief Executive Officer Carmel Riethmuller says the charity provides a long-term accommodation option and support for young people at its existing Kippa-Ring share house.

Many in the audience were shocked to hear there are only nine beds in the entire Moreton Bay Region for young people who are homeless.

“All of those beds are at Chameleon Housing,” Carmel told the audience.

“In 2021, a Mission Australia survey of 20,000 young people aged 15-19 years found one in 20 young people were homeless last year during the pandemic.

|“This means, to put it into perspective, in a school of 1000 young people, 50 are homeless. That’s a classroom of young people at the local high school down the road that sleep rough.”|

Carmel shared stories about young people Chameleon Housing has been able to help, illustrating the difference its programs and practical support made.

She thanked Ausbuild for making the event happen and for MBRIT and the New Zealand Warriors for supporting it.

Big step forward for Chameleon Housing

Touched by community support

When Moreton Daily spoke to her today, Carmel was still overwhelmed by the amount of money raised and support shown for the charity and the young people her team cares for.

“I had high hopes, but it exceeded what I could have imagined,” she said.

She’s never experienced community support like it in her career.

“I just think the community really got it, when they saw what we were trying to do and we explained it. I’ve never seen that level of understanding before,” she explained.

“People could not visualise it before. It gave the community an understanding of what young people who are homeless experience. With the films showed and the stories told, we were able to show what it’s like.”

Carmel said the money raised would go towards Chameleon Housing's plans to open a second share house for young people in the Moreton Bay Region.

“We had important conversations with people in the community last night, that we’re going to continue to have going towards making our vision come true. We’ve started conversations to make it happen,” she said.

|“I’m excited about the conversations we had last night and have great hopes for the future. Over the next couple of weeks these will continue and I’m looking forward to updating the community on the outcomes of those.|

“I want to thank Ausbuild from the bottom of our hearts. This was the first gala and I’m excited they are getting behind (finding solutions for) youth homelessness. It looks like a great partnership in the future.”

Carmel said she had received concrete, practical offers of support from many who attended the event and said they now had a greater understanding of the work her team did.

“The team feel very proud that they work for an organisation like Chameleon Housing and are part of this. They’re very excited,” she said.

Big step forward for Chameleon Housing

Building strong communities

Ausbuild Joint Managing Director Michael Loney, who was present with fellow Managing Directors Matthew Bell and Matthew Loney, spoke about the importance of building strong communities through the company’s developments but also forging partnerships that benefited the community.

He highlighted Ausbuild’s partnership with the New Zealand Warriors this season and how it gave more than 1200 game passes to school children, emergency services volunteers and local tradies.

His company has also formed a partnership with Bray Park State High School to provide opportunities for students to pursue career pathways in the construction industry. Ausbuild is providing 20 work experience positions throughout the year and one of its local contractors has offered the first school-based apprenticeship with the school.

Ausbuild has also launched The Sanctuary Community Fund this year, which will provide up to $100,000 in community grants. Seven community and school initiatives across the Moreton Bay Region have already benefited from almost $50,000 in grants in round one.

Michael said raising money for Chameleon Housing was another way the company could have a tangible, positive impact on the community.

“Sadly tonight, in Queensland, there are more than 28,000 teens and young adults sleeping rough, in crisis accommodation, boarding houses, couch surfing or on the streets,” he told the audience.

He said the majority were escaping violence and needed the community’s support.

An emotional address, he said he was proud to partner with this initiative to support the important work Chameleon Housing was doing.

Warriors back bid

New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George said it was a very special night and a special community to be a part of.

He thanked Moreton Bay Regional Council, Village Motors’ Marlene Newcombe and Ausbuild for their support during the club’s stay in the region for the 2022 NRL season.

“To the general community, we thank you very much. Our players, at times, have done it tough without their families but they found their family here. That’s something we’ll never ever forget. We know it’s the Redcliffe Dolphins but we’ll always be, in part, the Redcliffe Warriors and you’ll always be a part of our club,” he said.

During his address, he announced the club would donate $5000 to Chameleon Housing, promising a further $1000 if captain Tohu Harris scores a try this Friday night against Penrith and a further $2000 if the side beats the competition leaders.

Check out the photo gallery from the event


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