Meet Ben:

The Power of Support Systems

Ben is a resilient 21-year-old who has faced significant challenges while navigating a life overshadowed by family violence as well as drug and alcohol misuse.

Ben found himself couch surfing and rough sleeping, trapped in a cycle of adversity and disadvantage. Ben first came to MCM Frontyard Youth Services for simple things like showering, washing his clothes and recharging his phone.

While there, he also began tentative conversations with MCM case workers, gradually learning how they might be able to assist him. Bearing a traumatic past marked by abuse, neglect, and violence, it took Ben some time to trust others. His interactions with MCM staff became a turning point as he began opening up about his struggles and the profound impact of trauma on his mental health and overall wellbeing.

Frontyard’s case workers played a pivotal role in Ben’s journey, recognising the signs of trauma and the need for mental health support. Beyond providing immediate relief like reinstating his Centrelink income, providing clothing vouchers and essential toiletries, they identified the most critical need for Ben — finding him a safe place to sleep.

A safe place to sleep, even if for 6 to 8 weeks, represents a significant positive step for individuals like Ben. It offers a sense of security and stability, vital for trauma survivors and foundational for building a more secure future.

Ben’s story underscores the importance of comprehensive support systems, addressing immediate needs and providing a holistic approach to long-term recovery.

At Frontyard, Ben found a safe place and also a compassionate community that understood his struggles and individual needs. Your support can help sustain this crucial work, providing shelter and access to essential resources—hygiene, healthcare, healthy meals—and, more importantly, the support and guidance needed to rebuild lives.

Surprising facts

Mental health crisis

According to March 2023 data on young people coming to MCM for homelessness support, 4 in 10 (40.7%) 16 to 24 year olds experienced a significant and episodic mental health crisis, with many instances so severe they led to emergency department presentation.

Homelessness and mental health

Of the 12,000 15 to 24 year olds who came to a Victorian Specialist Homelessness Service alone in 2021-22, many had complex mental health issues linked to and often driven by their experiences of homelessness at such a young age.

Not enough beds

Each night in Victoria, there are only 127 beds available across 17 youth refuges. A lengthy waitlist often poses a challenge. This is where your generosity can make a difference. Donations allow case workers to explore alternative short-term accommodation until a bed in a refuge becomes available.

Homelessness rate increasing

Nationally, in 2021 nearly a quarter (23.0%) of all people experiencing homelessness were aged from 12 to 24 years (28,204 people). The rate of homelessness for young people aged 12-24 years grew by 15%.

Meet Brooke:
The Power of Hope

Late December 2022, Brooke found herself in an unimaginable situation. At just 17, she was five months pregnant and had been couch surfing to escape the violence of her family home.

Brooke sought refuge with her boyfriend, Jake, who had a stable job and promising plans for their future together, including the arrival of their baby.

Baby Lily-belle was born last Easter, and Jake was the sole visitor during Brooke's hospital stay. With the loss of her family and disconnection from her friends, Brooke relied entirely on Jake for support.

Initially, things seemed to be going well. What Brooke never anticipated was the sudden disappearance of Jake one morning, leaving behind no note, no messages and no explanations.

Things then changed very quickly for Brooke. When her Centrelink payments wouldn’t cover the rent, she had to leave her flat. Brooke then began staying with a string of acquaintances, and people she met, moving from one place to another. A few nights here - a few nights there.

Brooke's journey led her to MCM Frontyard Youth Services, our crisis service in Melbourne's CBD, seeking support during her "between-houses" phase. Brooke was terrified that she would lose Lily-belle, and this is where we were able to step in.

Thankfully, Brooke and baby Lily-belle found a safe place in our onsite emergency accommodation. This refuge is a literal lifeline for people like Brooke.

With your support, MCM can be there for women and children like Brooke and Lily-belle, guiding them on the path out of homelessness. Brooke is just one of many young people who reach out to MCM every year.

No two stories are the same: just as no two pathways out of homelessness are the same. That’s why we provide a range of options for young people: from emergency accommodation refuges and transitional housing, to access to affordable social housing.

By fundraising for, or donating to Sleep At The ’G you will be supporting MCM's vital services and programs for young people experiencing homelessness.

*All names have been changed to preserve the identity of MCM participants

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