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Colony 47 helping find homes this winter

COLONY 47’s annual Winter Appeal has been officially launched.

The theme of this year’s initiative is “There’s Nowhere Like Home.”

Colony 47 chief executive officer Therese Taylor said the 2016 Winter Appeal aimed to generate much-needed funds and awareness around the growing need for assisting struggling Tasmanians.

“In Australia almost 256,000 people face a daily struggle for survival each year,” she said.

“Here in Tasmania, Colony 47 provides support to more than 20,000 young people and families every year and every year that figure is growing.

“Among those figures we have a growing number of people who are finding themselves homeless or at risk of being homeless.”

Ms Taylor said on any given night more than 1,500 people were homeless in Tasmania, the majority of people aged younger than 44-years.

“We know that there are many reasons for homelessness,” she said.

“Homelessness is not a choice, it is a circumstance that can happen to any of us through financial difficulty, relationship breakdowns, health and mental health issues.”

One of Colony 47’s Housing Connect program clients, Nathan (surname withheld), said he was a capable, intelligent person who used to have a fantastic career.

“I stopped working, then my relationship ended badly and now I am living in a shelter,” he said.

“Now that I find myself in this situation, I have realised that homelessness can happen to anyone.”

Ms Taylor said Colony 47’s Housing Connect program had seen more than 7,800 people in a six-month period, supporting them with assessments for social housing, private rental assistance and crisis accommodation.

“Right now we have an opportunity to provide a brighter future,” she said.

“As we head into winter the hardships of homelessness get amplified and requests for assistance to Colony 47 increase even beyond the current high level of need.

“Colony 47 not only seeks to help people to find suitable housing, but also provides financial counselling so that they can have a truly bright future.”

Caption: Colony 47’s Winter Appeal guests and auction donors, from left, Gabby Morrison, Graham Flower, Scott Turnbull, Julie Collins, Chris Carter, Alex Beckitt and David Clements