Bianca’s story: Life at an Education First Youth Foyer

On any given night in Victoria, around 4,000 young people are homeless. Of this number, over 50 percent are not involved in education or employment. To help address this issue, Launch Housing in partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, has opened two Education First Youth Foyers – Holmesglen Foyer, based at Holmesglen Institute’s Waverley campus, and Kangan Foyer, based at the Kangan Institute, Broadmeadows. Funded by the State Government of Victoria, the foyers are the first of their kind in Victoria.

By providing and combining affordable accommodation, education, training and employment, Education First Youth Foyers help break the cycle of homelessness, create opportunities, and help young people lead independent and fulfilling lives.

Bianca is 19 and a student at the Kangan Foyer. Here she shares her story with us:

“In 2015, I moved out of home, aged 17, and was couch surfing for around four months. I contacted a homelessness service and was assigned a caseworker who told me about the Foyer. I successfully applied to move in here with the help of my caseworker and I’ve been living here for around 21 months. Each day is different and I take each day as it comes.

For me, the Foyer is a place for growth and developing yourself as an individual. Being at the Foyer means experiencing opportunities as well as having a place to make mistakes and learn from them. My experience has been challenging at times but it has shown me who I am as a person and what I need and deserve.

I have received support in every area of my life; career wise, and socially – to help me establish and maintain healthy relationships and meet like-minded people. The Foyer has created networks for my future and it’s a step in the right direction to achieve all my goals. Living here has made me realise my potential and that I should speak up for what I believe in, which is so important.

The amount of support I receive from the friends I’ve made, the workers and the mentors that are a part of everyday Foyer life is overwhelming. Being here makes me feel as if my opinions matter.

When I leave the foyer, I hope to live a long happy life! I finished year 12 in 2016 and started studying a Certificate IV in Community Services in February 2017. In two years from now, I see myself working in the community services sector and helping people through similar issues that I’ve gone through, including mental health challenges and homelessness. I’d like to bring awareness to the current social issues that are prevalent in today’s society.

I believe that every young person experiencing homelessness should access the Foyer because of the support they’ll receive, the growth they’ll experience and the opportunities that come their way.”