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Samaritans launches vital 2023 Winter Appeal


Imagine heading to school not knowing where you were going to sleep each night.

That’s the brutal reality for many young people in the Hunter.

Thankfully, Samaritans is here to help.

The Newcastle Anglican’s service agency launched its 2023 Winter Appeal on Thursday 1 June in a bid to provide a warm and safe home for vulnerable youngsters at its Student Accommodation facility.

Samaritans community services manager Lauren Fisher and president Bishop Peter Stuart at the Samaritans Winter Appeal launch.

People like 18-year-old Bree.

She fled an unsafe home environment as a teenager due to a traumatic family breakdown.

Bree came through Samaritans refuges and transitional housing before securing a place in the Student Accommodation service.

It allowed her to finish her HSC a year early through TAFE.

And, she’s now in her second year of a Coastal and Marine Science degree at the University of Newcastle.

Then you have Natalia Hogan, 22, who wasn’t safe at home and lived in and out of foster care and refuges as a child.

She lived in Samaritans Student Accommodation for three years and is now in the private rental market.

Natalia’s studying physiotherapy at the University of Newcastle and, during July, will run the Hunter Valley Marathon to raise funds for the Winter Appeal.

Samaritans president Bishop Peter Stuart said the program, which isn’t eligible for government funding, was focused on those who were at risk of homelessness.

“With great strength and resilience, these young people have identified a pathway for themselves,” he explained.

“We, with the help of our community, offer housing support and a safe environment to continue their education and change their life.

“We understand the absolute vulnerability of people transitioning out of homelessness.

“However, with sheer encouragement, we have seen many young people make this journey.

“We know this approach is effective and so does our generous community.

“The success of this initiative relies on philanthropy.

“It’s the sort of program the government could look to contribute funding towards.”

Samaritans community services manager Lauren Fisher said many young people, who entered the Student Accommodation, went on to complete their studies and found housing in the private rental market.

“Plenty of them talk about the difference it made to have safe and stable accommodation for the medium term, allowing them to then be able to go on and achieve their goals,” she added.

In the past year, Samaritans supported close to 1,500 young people who were facing homelessness.

But, sadly, demand is increasing.

For further details on how to donate, go to

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