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Aug 28, 2012

Helping homelessness young people get back on their feet

More than 100,000 people are homeless in Australia and almost half are under 25 years old.

Marie McLeary works at Anglicare Victoria’s Springboard Youth Refuge in Melbourne’s east to support young people who are homeless and help them get back on their feet.

“People think generally that they (young people) have a choice of whether they are homeless or not. But there is such a wide variety of reasons why they are homeless and it’s not by choice,” says Marie.

“There is always (issues of) domestic violence, or mental illnesses or drug and alcohol – it may not be with them (the young person) but it may be with the parent or the care giver.”

Marie says that while many in the public may think young people who are homeless are delinquents who simply don’t want to face the rules at home, the truth is they are vulnerable and scared.

“Most youth would love to be home and have a loving, nurturing family.”

At the Springboard Youth Refuge, young people learn independent living skills and the team work hard to line up stable housing and training or job opportunities for when they leave.

We’ve just had one young boy through and we were working on his independent living skills,” says Marie. “He’d been homeless for nearly eight years, actually sleeping rough for those eight years.

“He was 20 when he came here. And just while working with him and creating that trust we realized that he’s a great cook… We actually put him through a hospitality course.

“He went to class every day, he was never late, he studied, he came back and tried new recipes on all the staff and the other young people and now he’s full time employed and sustaining his housing.

“We’re very proud of him. That’s after eight years of living rough and he just had never been given that opportunity before to do a course like that – to focus on what his passion was – and given that, he’s just thrived.”

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1800 809 722

Or use our contact form to get in touch

@AnglicareVictoria

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