I feel like I have been homeless forever….
Krystal is a 21 year old girl who has been in and out of homelessness since she was 10, the product of a dysfunctional home with a mother who suffered from mental health issues and drug addiction. At far too tender an age, Krystal was left to her own devices.
“To me homelessness is feeling isolated, desperate and inferior. It’s meant struggling just to complete everyday life tasks and fight to try and build yourself a future, a brighter future“.
Having never met her real father and not knowing where to turn after her mother kicked her out of the house, Krystal went from one temporary solution to another, often finding herself on the streets.
After sleeping on a friends couch for some months, Krystal eventually ended up in foster care away from her school and the few friends she had managed to make a connection with. Feeling isolated and lonely, Krystal eventually called her mother asking if she could return home to Sydney.
Krystal ended up living back at her mother’s house for about a year. During this this time she remembers the mental and physical abuse she had to endure. After one violent altercation, Krystal was once again forced to flee what should be every child’s safe haven – her mother’s side.
“Not having any friends and no family I was left with no other option but to go to a crisis refuge. When I got to the refuge I was shocked and scared I didn’t know what to expect,” she recalls.
For years, Krystal went from crisis refuge to crisis refuge, to friends, to boyfriends, couch surfing, then on to medium term refuges.
“I was exhausted. It seemed no matter how hard I fought and how strong I stayed, I would have to start all over again somewhere new.”
Feeling at her lowest point, Krystal was eventually put in contact with Vinnies. Krystal was placed in Vinnies Youth Housing and for the first time in a long time, she felt comfortable and safe.
Vinnies Youth Housing Macarthur provides safe, affordable semi-supported medium to long term housing for young men and women aged 16 to 21 years, and sole parents and young families aged 16-24 years of age.
On coming into Vinnies care, like the other people Vinnies has assisted through this particular service Krystal was assigned an individual case manager. A focus is placed on development of life skills, completing their education, maintaining their tenancy and preparing people for independent living.
Krystal explains “I have my own room and my own privacy. This experience has had a really positive impact on my life. I know that Vinnies giving me a chance and placing me in a house where I was able to stay for a period of time, and create structure and routine, has enabled me to concentrate on my studies and give me a better chance at a future.”
In good news Krystal recently was interviewed on 2dayFM with Kyle and Jackie O and was surprised with an overseas holiday, spending money and vouchers for furniture and household goods. At the end of the segment, Kyle Sandilands offered to pay her bond and rent for 12 months. Thanks to the help of Ray White and one of our kind hearted CEOs who slept out Sam White, Krystal has secured a new apartment! You can view the emotionally charged footage from this 2dayFM surprise online.
This one example shows that with the right support and backing, we can get people out of homelessness. Krystal is someone who has directly benefited from your donation to the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. On behalf of Krystal and Vinnies Youth Housing, the service where Krystal feels the most positive steps were taken throughout this journey, thank you.