June 22 2018
Education First Youth Foyers student Abi explains what it’s like to live at the Foyers while focusing on her education and working towards a stable future. For her, the path into homelessness started at 15 years old and lasted four years.
“I had my dream where I wanted to be which was somewhere peaceful and stable but my view on the world was you don’t have anybody else but yourself and you have to be ready at all times to run.” – Abi, 19 year old student.
Abi is 19 years old and was born and raised in Melbourne with her two sisters. She moved into the Education First Youth Foyer at Broadmeadows in September 2017 after couch surfing at a friend’s house for about a month. In reality her journey into homelessness started four years earlier. She says, “I was 15 when I started running away and at 16 years old I got kicked out with my older sister. Things didn’t go well living with my sister. This is the most stability I’ve had in my life living at the Foyer.”
For her, being at the Youth Foyer is like living in a share house where you get “along with the owner” and have meaningful support. Staff are genuine and understanding, taking time to offer guidance on life, education and employment whilst respecting the independence and experiences of students.
“There is no shame in talking about your situation. It’s temporary and doesn’t define you. ”
Abi says she’s observed a pattern of the steps youth take once they move in, as they slowly start unpacking their emotions and everything they’ve been holding in after experiencing homelessness. She did exactly that, confiding in staff while “unpacking the baggage” from her experience of homelessness. Abi explains that the Foyers staff ethos, which is of enormous value, is the emphasis on a framework of support with practical counsel and most of all understanding.
With the assistance of HoMie, a Launch Housing partner, Abi is doing a retail course and internship. This experience is helping Abi build a future by getting on track with her education and finding a job, rather than just focusing on surviving.
“Through working and doing this course at HoMie I have confidence which I never really had before. I want what’s best for me and I realise that helps me want what’s best for others as well. I’m interested in social enterprises right now, a stable job and focusing on getting more certificates.”
Even though she has stable accommodation and an employment pathway Abi admits she still struggles with the vulnerability of her past experience of homelessness, working hard to not let it overwhelm her. That’s where the Foyer staff help as someone is there to provide reassurance and encouragement that she’s on the right path.
For other young people experiencing homelessness Abi’s advice is to be honest and speak to an adult or authority figure. She comments, “There is no shame in talking about your situation. It’s temporary and doesn’t define you. ”
Youth Homelessness Services at Launch Housing
To support vulnerable youth in a housing crisis Launch Housing has two Education First Youth Foyers to help break the cycle of homelessness by combining affordable accommodation, education, training and employment to young people aged 16-24 years old.
Our two Youth Foyers, located in Broadmeadows and Glen Waverley, provide accommodation for up to 80 at-risk young people offering a vital opportunity to assist with education, training and employment in a safe and supportive environment.