The true measure of whether our services are having an impact is how our clients feel. At our Youth Residential Recovery (YRR) sites, young people live for 12 months in a space where they can build confidence, community and independence while working on their recovery goals.
As part of the Melbourne Zero campaign to end homelessness in Melbourne, we spoke to some of the young people who live at our YRR sites.
Why is it important that everyone has a place to call home?
A client from YRR Reservoir said having a secure place to call home is a right that should be afforded to everyone, regardless of their sex, religion or ethnicity.
“It is important to your mental health and wellbeing.”
“No one wants to be on the street,” said another client from the same site.
A client from the Essendon site said that it’s important to feel safe, and that it’s “nice to come back to something”.
How do you feel when you walk through the door of your YRR site?
“I feel excited,” said a client from Essendon. “I feel like I have accomplished something.”
A client from the St Albans site said that they feel relaxed and safe when arriving at their YRR home. “I feel included. Because everyone there understands.”
One client from Reservoir said they love that they have been able to decorate their home at YRR with what they like, including LGBTIQA+ paraphernalia and plants.
“My home has given me the opportunity to be myself, the real me without judgement or fear of recrimination for being just that – me!”
Another Reservoir client spoke about how having a secure home at YRR makes them happy.
“I have been homeless on and off for the past six years, words cannot fully describe the joy and sense of belonging a stable home has brought to me.”
What can we do to support young people who are experiencing homelessness?
A Reservoir client said that there needs to be greater housing options and emergency housing for young people in mental health distress.
“Young people who are experiencing homelessness and mental distress should have options apart from the police and hospitals. When I was in that situation, a temporary home and a care team that was not a medical one would have made it easier for me.”
One St Albans client stressed the importance of continued support even when a young person is no longer experiencing homelessness.
“Even when they have secure housing, let them know support is available if they ever have housing issues again.”
Thank you to the young clients at Youth Residential Recovery for sharing your thoughts with us.
To read what the cohealth YRR team had to say, follow this link.