Young people are some of the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in Victoria. Every night, as many as 6,000 young people experience homelessness.
When I was nine years old mum moved in with her new boyfriend. He wasn’t a very nice man and over time he became more abusive towards me. I’d often have cuts or bruises on my body that I would try to cover up by wearing long sleeves or pretending I’d hurt myself while playing football.
Over the next couple of years, mum became really unwell and would stay in bed all day long - after a while doctors said she had depression and anxiety. During this time, I pretty much looked after myself.
I did my best to take care of myself but my schoolwork started to suffer.
I found it hard to focus on what the teachers were saying and eventually I dropped out thinking I would be better off getting a job.
Mum was not happy I had dropped out of school; in fact, she was really angry. We started having intense arguments. She would scream at me and blame me for how bad she was feeling. I felt like I was contributing to her problems, so I started staying at a friend’s house to avoid having to deal with her. I would just crash on my mate’s couch, and during the day I would try to find work.
I thought I would find a job and a place to live really easily but it turned out to be much harder. After a while, I had to move on from his place as his parents didn’t want me there any longer. I didn’t feel I could return to mum’s place, so I started staying with a different person every night until I eventually ran out of places to stay.
Some of my belongings got stolen while couch surfing and I had no money to live on so someone recommended I go into Frontyard Youth Services to get help.
After working with Frontyard support staff, Shane lived in a youth refuge for eight weeks before moving into transitional housing. He began working on his relationship with his mum and has supported her to seek the mental health support she needs. Shane has now re-engaged with education to finish his Year 11 & 12 and is also undertaking work experience as he hopes to pursue an apprenticeship as a mechanic.
Shane's name has been changed to protect his identity.