Community backs bid to help homeless youth

Published 9:00am 22 August 2023

Community backs bid to help homeless youth
Words by Kylie Knight

Chameleon Housing’s bid for a second share house for homeless young people is a step closer, after the community raised $110,000 for the project during the Ausbuild Housing for Happiness Gala on Friday night.

More than 280 people attended the event at Eatons Hill Hotel’s grand ballroom.

Developer Ausbuild hosted the gala, which included an online auction and raffle and was supported by Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT).

Chameleon Housing is a not-for-profit specialist homeless service which has been helping 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 has one share house for homeless young people at Kippa-Ring and desperately needs a second.

Supporters at Friday night’s event raised $98,530, with Ausbuild topping up the kitty to bring the total to $110,000.

Ausbuild Joint Managing Director Matthew Bell is thrilled with the outcome of Friday’s fundraiser.

“We were honoured to host the second Housing for Happiness Gala on Friday, with the community once again showing their support for Chameleon Housing and its vision for the region’s young people in times of crisis,” he said.

|“Securing a location and building a second youth accommodation facility in the Moreton Bay region has become even more possible for Chameleon Housing with the funds raised.|

“Thank you to every donor, sponsor, and special guest for making this event so successful.”

He said Ausbuild would be part of the team moving forward.

“We are going to find a way to work out how to buy the land, build a home. We’re going to house some kids one way or another. We’re committed to it,” he told the crowd on Friday night.

Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism CEO Natassia Wheeler said the gala was a wonderful evening which brought the community together to support homeless young people.

“We are thrilled that Chameleon Housing now has a further $110,000 to put towards building a much-needed second house in the region. It adds to the $103,000 raised at last year’s event,” Ms Wheeler said.

“A second house is desperately needed to help young people who have nowhere else to go. Chameleon Housing doesn’t just provide a home, it provides support to ensure these young people reach their potential.”

Community backs bid to help homeless youth

Growing need

Chameleon Housing CEO Carmel Riethmuller explained the need for more youth shelters in the City of Moreton Bay to the audience on Friday night.

“Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart. This is something we have been trying to do for the last 10 years. It wasn’t until Ausbuild and its directors Matt (Bell), Matt (Loney) and Mike (Loney) got on board and made it happen,” Ms Riethmuller said.

“The power of an organisation that understands what we’re trying to do here tonight … that is actually saving young people’s lives.

|“We’ve lost so many young people because they didn’t have a bed to sleep in, they didn’t have a roof so they could get about the business of being a young person.|

“If it wasn’t for these guys here tonight, we wouldn’t be on track. There wouldn’t be a platform to raise awareness about the plight of young people in Queensland who are homeless. It takes a community and tonight it has and I want to thank everybody here.”

Ms Riethmuller said there were 300,000 people homeless in Queensland of which more than 44,000 were young people aged 12-25 years.

She said in the past 30 years, not one youth shelter has been built in Queensland.

Ms Riethmuller asked a table of 10 to stand, and then for one person to sit down, illustrating the number of beds for homeless youth in the City of Moreton Bay – nine.

She applauded last year’s announcement by the State Government and the City of Moreton Bay to create a homelessness hub but pleaded they remember young people in its creation.

“When you’re designing and building this hub, remember the young people because the young people are the ones that are always forgotten,” she said.

“I believe, in the hub, there must be a permanent, dedicated space for young people. There must be a specialist homeless service to work in the hub with young people.

“Please don’t forget them (the young people).”

See our photo gallery from the gala (click through)

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