“Family to me is more than blood; family to me means the people who love and care for you.” – Starr, 19, Lifewise Rangatahi
This Christmas, your donation can help protect young people from the risk of becoming homeless. You can give someone like Starr the guidance, support and time needed to find a home as well as the confidence and skills to live and work independently.
“We just need more places like this so other people can get inside, too.”
This Christmas, nearly half of New Zealand’s homeless will be people under the age of 25, who will find themselves without a family and living with the fear and uncertainty this creates. Starr told Ariana, one of our Youth Workers,
“Life before this place was a bit of a mess.”
…having gone through 10 different foster homes and without any close family. Starr is one such 19-year-old who had really struggled to find any stability.
“I had given up on the hope of finding people I could really feel close to and call my family.”
Youth in these circumstances face many challenges, increasing their vulnerability and the risk of becoming homeless. Not having a home can make simple things like being able to get access to healthcare, attaining a driver’s licence, or holding a job incredibly difficult.
Lifewise’s Youth Housing Service provides safe housing and support for youth who, like Starr, don’t have a safe or stable place to live. Starr found herself in our programme with other 17- to 24 -year -olds who were either homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or had a serious housing need.
Starr found the team at Lifewise encouraged her towards self-sufficiency by using a positive youth development approach. She and other youths receive opportunities to exercise leadership, build key skills, and get involved in their communities.
Starr was very surprised by the effort that people like Ariana had put into supporting her.
“When I got the keys and I seen the place, I freaked out like ooooh, there was a washing machine, there was a dryer there was everything, like I did not expect this. We have hot water, we can have warm showers and not cold showers, yes we have new towels.”
It wasn’t enough for Starr to be living independently. The most crucial part was having wrap-around support to ensure Starr got back on her feet in a holistic sense.
“Ariana and others from Lifewise helped me a lot with myself as well, they let me in, they talked to me and just made me feel welcome. They helped me with doctors’ appointments, driving licence, they helped me with a CV.”
All of these things cost money and that is what a young person who is just getting on their feet simply doesn’t have.
Over a number of months of support from Ariana, Starr is now extending herself even further by looking for a private rental and her first home living independently. She has a job and is confident about her future.
“The relationship I have with Ariana is of Mother, Sister, she turns your bad day into a good day. I had just lost my confidence ‘cause I kept on getting rejected. And it wasn’t until Ariana come along and like gave me that motivation and I got the job in frontline customer service!”
I hope you can see that with your support, we can ensure more young people like Starr, who have had a rough start in life, find new opportunities. They are able to escape what can often be a vicious cycle of homelessness and become confident new men and women – contributing to their best potential in society. What a complete turnaround!