Increase the number of beds for homeless young people
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My name is Ella*, I’m 18 and live independently in youth housing provided by The Family Centre.
I spent 6 years of my life in foster care which wasn’t a very pleasant experience for me. I am no longer involved with the Community Services system, which I am very relieved about.
But growing up like this there were many down falls, but mainly getting put into the homes of strangers. Most of the carers weren’t very nice to me. They did it for the money not for actually caring or taking a child in to give them a safe place to go to sleep at night or even supporting them through life difficulties.
As there were very few people that were interested in taking a ‘troubled teen’ into their home which greatly impacted me because of very limited to no places I could call home. My caseworker eventually introduced me to The Family Centre in hope of finding somewhere for me to go. With their help I got put in one of the 4 beds available for young homeless people in Tweed Shire. They have not only given me a safe place to go home to but also welcomed my cat along by my side.
Having this support and help has given me the opportunity to accomplish many things I would never of thought were possible from myself. I had motivation to get my licence and save up for a lovely car I now have. I’m determined to stick the last couple of months out and get my year 12 high school certificate. I’m also doing a beauty course at TAFE which I have gained my certificate 2 and on the way to getting my certificate 3 in make-up.
This will majorly impact my future as I want to become a wedding and formal make-up artist. Those things are very important to me but the main thing I am proud to say is I’ve met such wonderful, kind hearted people and gained so many new friendships which I treasure.
The help I’ve received has given me inspiration to help others who are struggling, or be an open shoulder for those whom may need a helping hand to keep pushing on through difficult times in life. I’m sharing my story in hope that this will help get more beds for young teens like myself that are struggling.
Each year The Family Centre is assisting over 300 young people and children aged 15–24 who are homeless or imminent risk of becoming homeless.
During the 2014 reform of the NSW Specialist Homelessness Services program, Tweed Shire lost 12 Housing NSW beds previously allocated to homeless young people.
Tweed Shire has the lowest number of supported accommodation options for homeless young people in NSW. There are only two houses with two bedrooms in each property allocated by Housing NSW as supported transitional accommodation for young people in the Tweed Shire.
The Tweed Shire has a population of over 90,000 people and one of the highest homelessness rates in NSW. It is only fair that we have the same resources to work with the young people affected by homelessness to help them to stabilise their lives and quickly transition to independence.
The Family Centre is calling on the NSW Government to immediately restore the number of beds available for homeless young people from 4 back to 16. This will bring the number of beds in line with other comparable regions in the state.
*name has been changed
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