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  • Writer's pictureWipers Youth

Case Study: Kelly's Story #PlanForThe129k

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

More and more young people are being exposed to situations no one should have to experience. We need decision makers to commit to a strategy to end youth homelessness, we can’t carry on like this.

Case study from our 2022 Annual Report:

When I first left home and began sofa surfing, I didn't really associate my situation with the term of ‘being homeless’. I thought the set up I had of jumping from house to house would sustain me, but it caught up to me in the end, until I found myself being kicked out of college. At the end of the day, I had no real stability, nothing to come back to, no space to myself and on top of all that, I was missing a very important feeling: the feeling of being safe, the feeling of having security. With being homeless, I have lost a lot - but I have also learnt a lot.

Now the housing process has been a long and tough one. After being in my situation for 2 years, it's not until the end of this year that I've made headway. In all honesty, I partly blame myself for why it took so long. I always felt like I could have been doing more though. I think everyone has situations in which they reflect and believe they should have done more, that's a universal feeling and I also couldn't say I could take all the blame - a lot of the process is waiting.

What I do know though, is that I wouldn't have been able to do it without the services I was referred to. I was first referred to TYS (Targeted Youth Support) and I'm so grateful they didn't give up trying to contact me, because without them I wouldn't be where I am now in terms of my housing process. I wasn’t easy to get on the phone, so I can’t thank them enough.

They then referred me to Wipers and my specialist mentor who really helped me through it. I have a knack of getting anxious and so in some situations I can be easily overwhelmed, but having someone who didn't sugar-coat things and told me things for what they were was something so needed in trying to navigate a situation like this.

I couldn't have done it alone, being young I was worried about getting screwed over. I was in a vulnerable position but being able to trust I had someone in my corner, meant everything. I was really lonely, and there's only so much that people in my life could do to help me but with my mentor I really felt like everything could be alright again for me.

I was struggling a lot with my mental health - and still am - but she made it all feel less heavy all the time, and what I appreciated the most about my experience with her, is that it wasn't one sided. It was a human interaction, it was personal and that was so needed in a situation where it can all be assessments and waiting. Just to have someone to chat to and it not be stressful, it was genuine and it makes me appreciate our time together more. It prepared me for being able to manage and do this on my own.

It's because of Wipers that I was also introduced to other great services, including Hillside Clubhouse and New Horizons Youth Centre. They were so helpful and easy to work with and clearly worked very hard to provide as much as they can for people.

Sometimes we know we can do something, but we still need a little push and that's okay. I wanted to do it all myself, but I accepted the help and honestly, it would be silly if I said I'm not in a better position now then I was. I still have control, the choice was still mine, the difference is, I have more choices than I started off with, more opportunity to steer myself into something I wanted and I was supported in that.

Now I can't say what will happen in the future or where I will decide to go, but at least now I’m in a much better place, with the tools to handle it and manage where I want to be. I’ve even restarted college this year so I know either way, there will always be a way to make something work, you just have to be open to the idea of that.

We're in an escalating youth homelessness crisis as young people are being pushed into danger and desperation by the systems meant to protect them. We need a proper strategy to end youth homelessness. Young people have been overlooked by policy, hit hardest by the pandemic and have the least resources to ride out the housing and cost of living crises.

129,000 young people approached their council as homeless last year and we know the true number could be as high as double and it’s growing fast. What would society look like if we put these young people first?

Wipers supports New Horizon Youth Centre’s Youth Homelessness Strategy, signed by over 100 organisations, which highlights what works and prioritises:

  • Prevention, including support for schools, councils and families to better spot signs and help young people before they experience the harm of homelessness

  • Better housing options for all young people

  • Fairer finances for young people, including the end of wage and benefits discrimination.

We need a #PlanForThe129k


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