Carla* was a child living on the streets

Before she found Lifewise, Carla was destined for a lifetime of homelessness.

For just $35 a month you can save young people like Carla* from despair and hopelessness.

young woman with child, holding her head in despair

Carla was abused. Next thing she knew Carla was out on the streets feeling unsafe and vulnerable. Your $35 monthly donation will help Carla. Your donation will help Carla and others twice as much if you give now!

Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar, but only if you give by December 31st.

I’m writing to you on behalf of one of our young rangatahi – Carla. Carla was in an abusive home when things went from bad to worse. From a young age, Carla constantly suffered physical abuse. The abuse was from the hands of one of her older family members. He should have loved and protected her. It’s hard to imagine being betrayed and harmed by those who should keep you safe.

At 15, Carla found the courage to speak up. However, she was branded a liar and life became uncomfortable with her other family members. Carla was strong and managed to leave her abusive situation with only a few possessions. She made the difficult ‘choice’ of living on the cold hard streets to escape the abuse in her own home. In her mind, the streets were the only place to go, despite the fear that something bad might happen.

Here Carla came across some street whānau who took her under their wing.

“I was the youngest. The others had my back and checked up on me.”

Most importantly to Carla, they believed her story and promised to protect her. But it wasn’t easy. Carla had to endure cold and hunger on the streets where she faced constant judgment or ridicule from passers-by in the daytime.

“People would see me on the streets and say, ‘Oh stop pretending to be homeless, you’re too young to be homeless’ but they didn’t know the truth.” 

young woman looking at her phone worriedly

Under severe mental stress, Carla began taking drugs, given to her by her street family to cope with the cold and the mental strains of homelessness. As her drug habit worsened, even her street family saw that she needed help. One of them introduced her to a Lifewise peer support worker.

We need your help, to reach out to young people like Carla. Teens like her face abuse, homelessness or to compensate, a downward spiral into drug abuse. Since the first Covid-19 lockdown, we received an astonishing 120 requests for support from young people facing homelessness. We could only help a quarter of them! This means just 31 new tenants received intensive support in Lifewise managed accommodation. This meant that 89 rangatahi went without. We need you to give them shelter and a place to call home.

If you help in December, another amazing donor has offered to match your donation dollar for dollar. That means your donation can help twice as many young people than you usually could. So for example, your gift of say $35 could become $70!

It is only with your support that teens like Carla can find a safe home in one of the only places available in Auckland. Your support provides wrap-around care, helping them to choose their future.

Only a couple of months later, Carla discovered that she was pregnant. This must have been both a shock and a surprise to her.

Could you be the one who helps to intervene, when she needs to be safer now, more than ever?

young woman with child, holding her head in despair

Your help means the difference between her new baby Jake, becoming ill on the streets or taken away from her. This could cause another cycle of a child being separated from whānau all over again. Donate to keep families together and allow young mums like Carla to keep her baby. Your donation will not only help mums like Carla but babies like Jake. Your donation will help break the cycle of unsafe homes for children.

Your donation of $35 a month will save mums like Carla and babies like Jake. By providing wrap-around support in a safe home-like setting, both will be able to thrive together.

If it wasn’t for donations like yours, Carla also wouldn’t be able to go back and complete her schooling. Jake would not be able to be looked-after in day-care when she is absent.

Because of you, Carla can be one of the lucky ones.

Sadly, through lack of funds, last year we had to turn away 89 young people like Carla since COVID. This was at a time when thousands of parents lost work, putting extreme strain on their ability to support their children.

Could this be an even rougher Christmas for young people turning to the streets?

Carla will appreciate your pledge of support. With your donation, youth homelessness can be tackled and crises prevented. Please, break the cycle. 

Your $35 monthly donation will keep young people safe when they have no place else to go. Lifewise’s transitional housing places will be able to ensure caring, wraparound support. Everyone deserves a proper start in life. You can make that difference a reality for them.

Your $35 gift this Christmas is going to be matched by a sponsor for this appeal. This will double your gift to $70, so that more rangatahi like Carla can urgently get help over this holiday period.

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