Stories of
homelessness

The main factors driving young families to homelessness are relationship and family breakdown, abuse, and domestic violence.

For many, sleeping on the streets is their safest option and having nowhere to go after leaving the hospital is their reality. Without intervention, they are at risk of harm, and so are their babies.

Sarah’s
story

Sarah* was pregnant and 17 years old. Home and school were not safe places for her.

Her father was violent and when he found out she was pregnant, the violence became more aggressive. Sarah needed to get out urgently but had nowhere to go.

The family of the baby’s father was not supportive. Having grown up in a home where everything was hidden from fear of authorities removing the children, Sarah was scared that she wouldn’t be allowed to keep her baby. She feared maternal health services, so instead of seeking specialist help, Sarah couch-surfed throughout her pregnancy.

Sarah is a resilient woman. She would often go without food so she could care for her baby. Without support though, they struggled. Sarah second guessed every decision she made as a parent.

Tragically, the scars from that early trauma are still visible. The child is now 19 years old, has a neurodevelopmental condition, has experienced homelessness and abuses substances.

A Different Ending is Possible with the Fusion Village

Although hesitant, Sarah and her baby’s future changed when she connected with the team at Fusion.

She was welcomed into a community, given a home to call her own, provided complete maternal care and parenting classes. She was encouraged to be the best mother she could be, supported by a community of people who accepted her and loved her. She felt safe, secure and able. Sarah’s baby was born, and there was a celebration.
There were flowers, meals were cooked for her so she could rest and transition into the demands of motherhood. She was nourished, body, soul and spirit. Her child grew up in a safe, stable and loving home.

The world is a better, safer place because this young mum was valued, cared for and loved through it all.

*Name changed to protect identity

Achieving the Impossible

Without the Fusion Village housing solution and while affordable housing on the Mornington Peninsula is in short supply, supporting young mums and their babies will remain difficult. Despite this, the outcomes that Fusion’s Family Support Worker is achieving, have been miraculous.

“I’ve been working with a young person who faced homelessness with a newborn baby. She experienced significant medical issues, was struggling to get the help she needed and battling with anxiety. This young woman had never been able to rely on anyone or build trust.

Unlike other agencies, we were able to provide the additional time and support she needed; supporting her at appointments and taking the time to build trust. That made the difference. Just one example of that is scheduling appointments. To begin with I would make the calls with her, then I would sit with her while she made calls and now, she is making the calls for herself!

She is navigating transport, making appointments, advocating for herself and her baby, budgeting, grocery shopping, cooking, all because someone took the time to believe in her and role model how to do those things. Last week she was able to secure housing with a partner, this we can’t take credit for, all we can say is, it was a miracle. She has enrolled in school, is finishing her secondary studies and is working with a GP who has helped her understand her medical issues, relieving her anxiety that her child was going to experience this too.

This support has shifted habits and self-belief and I have no doubt that it has changed this family’s life.”

Fusion Family Support Worker

Ashley’s
story

Ashley* was 18 and Pregnant.

 

“I’d always wanted to be a Mum, but at the time I didn’t have a house, licence or a job. I remember the pressure of not knowing where I was going to live with a new baby. I needed help. I was admitted to hospital, to get in place the support I needed for my mental health and my baby. What I needed most was a safe place to live, but there weren’t any options.”

 

Ashley

That young mum and her baby needed more than we were able to provide. As a result, they spent the first few months in the hospital psychiatric ward.

*Name changed to protect identity

“At Fusion, I began to feel safe again. People would spend time with me. Listen, not just dismiss me. I could always be honest. They showed me that I could be loved. Fusion helped me grow and know how to live… I learnt how to care for myself, how to set boundaries… how to cook, clean and live in shared areas. The list goes on of what they taught me. A lot of the stuff I learnt has helped me keep stable housing.”

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