Foyers provided Angie the chance to succeed

Angie* was just 18 when she experienced the breakdown of her family home and lost her housing stability. Like many young people who first experience homelessness, she was left with no option but to couch surf between friends’ houses – all while trying to keep up with her studies and manage part time work.

During this uncertain time, Angie was in contact with a youth worker who referred her to our Education First Youth Foyers. The Foyers provide worker supported accommodation to young people while they complete their education. To be eligible you must be aged 16 to 24 years, unable to live at home and willing to make a commitment to stay in education or training. Angie easily met the eligibility and was accepted as a student.

“I didn’t know what to expect at first, to be honest. You never know what kind of places these are going to be, but everyone was really friendly and welcoming.”

About 6 months into Angie’s stay at the Foyer she lost her retail job which was another major blow to her confidence.

“So much of my self-worth was tied up in my job and my study – being a good employee, being a good student. So, it was a really hard time,” she said.

Applying for job after job, not even hearing back, she got to the point where it was too disappointing to try anymore. But with support and encouragement from the Foyers team, her confidence grew.

“The team built me back up. They were like ‘hey, there are other things about you that are valuable and just because this has happened doesn’t mean that you’re now not worthy of anything.’”

Around this time, a work skills trainer was doing sessions at the Foyer and suggested an opportunity Angie could apply for with social enterprise, Homie. After some encouragement from her development worker, she decided to apply and was offered the role.

“It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I think that back to the point and realise I’ve gotten where I have from that opportunity.”

After graduating from the Homie program with a Certificate III in Retail, she worked with Cotton On, then received an offer to work for a retail tech company. Since then she has been promoted three times, is now responsible for training and she’s even involved with the interviewing and hiring process for new staff.

“The main thing that the Foyers provided me was confidence. Having a team of people around you, whether that be the workers or the other students, knowing that they’re behind me 100%, pushed me to strive for things that I didn’t think I was like worthy of.”

Since leaving the Foyer, Angie says it has been “smooth sailing.” She said the preparation she was given for private rental and living skills was invaluable, and still uses the budget template she created with her worker.

“These programs teach people to be successful, functioning and an important part of the community. We have so much to offer the world but without these programs, we don’t have any opportunities to show it.

“You don’t know what a young person is capable of until you give them the opportunity to succeed.”

Angie is currently renting a private share house with friends, she loves her work and has just one more semester of her undergraduate course to complete.

*name changed to maintain anonymity.