As we mark Homelessness Week 2021, we want to celebrate the communities that have come together to love their young people, giving them not just a place to live, but a place to belong. More than that, we’re inviting you to be part of the story too.
Below you’ll read just one story about the difference it can make, when a community comes together to provide its most vulnerable with what is needed. Homelessness and mental health changes don’t need to be the end game if we’re willing to see past the label to the person beneath.
Mike and Rowena*
Before he was even 16, Mike found himself unable to live with his dad anymore and needed to find a place to live. Following 6 months of uncertainty, he came to Fusion on the Mornington Peninsula. Their supported accommodation for young people between 15 and 21 had a bed where Mike could stay for up to 3 months.
But 3 months isn’t very long, and Mike soon needed to find somewhere else to live.
While our caseworkers work hard to help young people find a more permanent home, there aren’t many options available for those under 18 years of age, and what there is, is in short supply. That’s where Fusion’s community approach made all the difference for Mike. Weekly community meals at Fusion give young residents the opportunity to connect with supportive community members over dinner and it was there that Rowena recognised Mike as a former team-mate of her son.
With much of their family grown up and moved out of home, Rowena and husband Dave had a spare room and were prepared to share it. Their willingness made it possible for Mike to find a home.
Their commitment has given Mike the stable home environment he needs while finishing his education and working on his physical and mental health. To help him move forward, Rowena and Dave were also prepared to use their resources to support ongoing care for Mike, including regular visits to the GP and psychologist.
“We had a spare room. When you can do something like this, why wouldn’t you? After all, Jesus would have taken anyone in.” Rowena
What a difference it would make if we all thought the same way. Communities are transformed when individuals make choices like this; making it possible for young people to thrive.
*Names changed to protect the identities of those involved.
What can you do?
While much has been done to prevent homelessness and to support those who are homeless, the reality is that tonight 116,427 people are experiencing homelessness in Australia. 42% are under the age of 25.
This Homelessness Week we are so aware of the impact that a home and community can have on all aspects of a person’s life. To find out about the number of people experiencing homelessness and the social housing need in your community, visit https://everybodyshome.com.au/heat-maps/
At Fusion, we’d love to help you find a way to respond in your community. To find your closest Fusion centre and how you can be involved, click here https://fusion.org.au/where-we-are/