YPS has supported thousands of children and young people over our years of operation and every young person & THEIR story is individual, unique and important.
The reality of homelessness?
Some children/young people have experienced significant adversity, pain, torture, tragedy and trauma and each individual story is an amazing story of survival. What shines through is children/young peoples strength, their skills, their survival strategies, their compassion and their determination. These are the qualities we focus on and we support children/young people to focus on these qualities of themselves as well.
Please also note that no names have been used and no locations or identifying information will be provided. All stories are true & factual.
I was 5 when my brothers and sister and I were removed from my Mum due to her drug use, neglect & abuse of us. We were placed in a family placement where we then sexually abused.
After a long time we were finally taken from this placement and placed with other family. Some of them were really lovely but one was really mean & at 16 I retaliated & got kicked out. My life was pretty out of control by this stage. I was using pot all the time & had constant flashbacks of the abuse I went through so I would use more and more pot to make it go away. I tried to do things like school and stuff but my depression was so bad most days I just locked myself away & stayed stoned.
I spent a lot of years couch surfing cause I was only just managing to look after myself. I started to work with YP Space and they helped me get support for my mental health and drug use. It was still a daily battle to do much of anything & keeping myself alive was my main focus.
At 18 I was finally ready to get my own place and YP Space helped me get a social housing unit- a few actually, cause at the start I still didn’t have everything under control & still made some bad decisions for myself.
I don’t have contact with most of my family- they have their own issues happening from what we lived through. One of my siblings committed suicide as a result of our childhood.I’ve got my own place again now & have had it for over 2 years now. Having that security has let me get back to working through my stuff with my psychologist & Im doing the best I can.
The hardest part about being homeless when your young is that people judge you- not for what you’ve done but for how old you are & what ‘young people’ are like ‘these days’.
Ive been looking after myself since I was 13, when my Dad first kicked me out cause his new girlfriend didn’t like me and would call me lots of horrible names all the time. She constantly told me I was nothing, useless, fat and that my Dad didn’t really want me.
I couldn’t live with my Mum cause she had a boyfriend & he was violent- he’d hit me lots of times before when I stayed with them & he hurt Mum all the time. So I stayed with different family and friends for a couple of years- but I never really stayed long in one place so they didn’t get sick of me.
I was raped when I was walking to a friend’s place one night, but I never went to the Police or told anyone cause I was too scared & I didn’t think they would believe me. I did what I needed to do to survive. Most of the time I tried to stay invisible, if no-one saw me then no-one could hurt me. I had no money so I got my first job when I was 14 & since then Ive always had at least one job, but generally two.
I went to YP Space when I was 15 and they helped me a lot. They helped me get support for my mental health- I was pretty depressed which made it harder to do things, helped my get on a Centrelink benefit as my income from work was really low and I had to support myself, and helped me get back into school. When I was 16 YPS helped me get a social housing unit & I lived there for just over 12 months so I finally had a rental history. It was good & my YPS Case Worker helped me so much. I felt like someone really cared about me for the first time in ages.
Even with my employment it was hard to get my own place, that wasn’t social housing. Real estate agents just wouldn’t look at me cause I was so young and with ever rejection I felt more and more worthless.
I applied for over 45 properties before a Real Estate Agent finally approved me for a place. I went to TAFE & completed a Cert IV in Hospitality, did my RSG and RSA, completed a Brewster course & was the top of my class.
Ive been with the same Real estate agent for 3 years now- but Ive moved to a nicer place with my partner.
I think people should look past stereotypes and respond to the actual person, not what they think that person will be.
My dad used to beat my mum really bad when I was little. I watched him do it for years and when I was about 7 I tried to stop him but he broke my arm. From then I was also his target & he would punch me in the stomach so no-one could see the bruises.
He told me if I ever told anyone he would kill me and my mum and I believed him.
I was so angry all the time but I still never told anyone about Dad & him hitting me & my mum. I was angry at him and I was angry at her. I couldn’t understand why she would stay with him & make me stay with him when he hurt us both so much. I hated him & was starting to hate her just as much.
At 15 I ran away cause I just couldn’t do it anymore & I thought that if he touched me again I would end up killing him. I stayed with a mates family for about a year. It was so different to my home & I felt like someone finally cared about me. Then my mates mum got really sick and I couldn’t stay there anymore.
I couch surfed for a while and I went to school everyday even though sometimes I didn’t know if I would have a place to stay that night. There were a few nights where I couldn’t get a place organized and had to sleep outside. Those nights I would just walk around town trying not to be seen. I was so scared but didn’t know any other option.
The school found out what was happening for me and referred me to YP Space. I stayed at the crisis house for a while and they got me on my own Centrelink payments, got me a medicare card and helped me build my living skills. I leant heaps about healthy cooking, budgeting and being responsible for what I do. I did the Reality Renting group with YPS and learnt heaps about how to rent a place, what I have to do as a tenant & how to make sure I keep a place when I get one. YPS also helped me work through my anger- I was so scared I would turn out like my Dad. I now know lots of different things I can do to keep myself ok and not lose it.
I love my Mum and I still talk to her & see her every now & then- but she’s still with my Dad so I cant go home.
Im finishing year 12 this year and another mates family have let me come live with them till Im finished. YP Space helped me talk to them about me paying board & getting a rental reference off them when I leave so Ive got a better chance of getting a place through a real estate.
My Dad was convicted as a child sex offender when I was younger & spent some time in jail. There had been rumors when I was little but I never knew who to believe about this stuff & my parents always told me the rumors were lies. Home wasn’t great but I had nowhere else to go.
I started self-harming when I was pretty young. By the time I reached 16 there was no part of my arms, torso or legs that was not scarred from cutting. I didn’t know what else to do with what was happening in my life & I had no-one to talk to.
At 16 my parents kicked me out of home- they said I wasn’t following their rules but I think it was more to do with my self-harm scars & Dads conviction. They didn’t know how to deal with me & said I was cutting myself to punish them.
I went to YP Space and got support to work through my housing needs. I found out I was pregnant not long after this & my parents started to want me back in their life. I dropped out of school and focused mainly on my baby & where I was going to live after I gave birth. My parents let me come back home & my daughter & I stayed with them for a little while after she was born.
There was always this nagging feeling that maybe my Dad wasn’t to be trusted with my daughter & I decided to leave again to make sure she was safe. YP Space helped me get a little property through a private landlord & while things were ok my mental health was still a bit of an issue.
I did a mental health recovery program at YPS & was linked in with a psychologist & after I finished that I felt confident to return to education- I hadn’t been at school for over 3 years & was really nervous about that. I went to TAFE & completed a Cert III in Engineering.
Turns out Im actually really clever & Im looking at going to Uni to study applied mathematics.