Providing relief from the cold through the Vinnies Winter Appeal

Former disability support worker ‘Irish’ credits the St Vincent De Paul Society’s (Vinnies) with saving his life – twice.

After losing his job, dealing with the breakdown of his marriage and suffering from a serious brain injury, Irish lived in his car for several months before walking straight up to the front door of Vinnies’ Bethlehem House.

As it had done for many other Hobart men, Bethlehem House provided the support and shelter Irish desperately needed to get his life back on track.

“Being here, I feel safe and cared for,” Irish said.

“Bethlehem House took me in when I was at my darkest point and I am so grateful to the care and support they have shown me.

“My hope is that Tasmanians can get behind the Vinnies Winter Appeal this year so they can continue to assist people like me.”

Funds raised through the Winter Appeal will address the rising cost-of-living pressures and affordable housing shortages affecting vulnerable Tasmanian communities.

Vinnies chief executive officer Heather Kent said she was concerned about the current crisis in Tasmania and in particular the number of people not able to find appropriate housing.

“A staggering 2,350 Tasmanians were reported as homeless in the 2021 census,” she said.

“We know the number has grown since then. In February of this year there were 4,705 people on the waiting list for social housing with the average time to house priority applicants being 92.6 weeks.

“With the cost of housing continuing to rise amidst supply shortages, a record number of people are experiencing housing stress.”

Funds raised through the appeal will go towards providing emergency food hampers, food vouchers, financial assistance, funding for prescription medication and warm blankets and clothing for Tasmanians experiencing homelessness.

“Vinnies is working hard to reduce the number of Tasmanians having to spend sleepless nights in a tent, car or in insecure accommodation,” Ms Kent said.

“Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of those who are struggling during these challenging times.”

Donations to the Vinnies Winter Appeal can be made by calling 13 18 12 or online at www.donate.vinnies.org.au/appeals-tas/winter-warmth-tas

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About the Author: Simon Andrews

Simon is a passionate journalist and finds joy in uncovering and sharing locally resonant stories, immersing himself in the hearts of communities. He can often be spotted out and about sourcing grassroots news for the Hobart Observer and its sister papers.

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