Amy's story

Amy was first removed from her mother's care by the state at the age of three due to abuse and neglect. Both her parents were drug abusers and her father died when she was very young.

Amy had multiple foster parents but never dealt with the separation from her biological mum at such a young age.

At the age of 13 years old, feeling unsettled, lost and traumatised by her childhood abuse, Amy ran away to Melbourne and has been homeless since.

We met Amy in 2017 when she came into Frontyard Youth Services, our flagship youth homelessness centre in Melbourne's CBD.

She's now 17 and has been working with our caseworkers three hours per week for the last year. This is what we call "intensive support".

Amy has a number of factors working against her

She's traumatised by her childhood abuse. She has a mild intellectual disability that has just been diagnosed, but has never received medical treatment or support.

She has never experienced love, guidance and care from a stable parent, so she finds it difficult to process her emotions and express them in a healthy way. She can't stay at a refuge because the staff aren't trained to support someone with her needs.

Amy is what we call a "complex case". She doesn't fit into a neat category and her needs are greater than current facilities and staff can support.

Sleeping rough on the streets of Melbourne isn't a choice for Amy. It's a last resort.

For the most vulnerable young people sleeping rough on our streets, like Amy, there is a long journey ahead. And there is simply not enough room for them.

But you can help change Amy's life by building her a room

We're building the world's first combination of crisis accommodation and youth support services under one roof.

This innovative approach is so ground-breaking, we're calling it "The Disruptive Model" - because it's built to disrupt the cycle of homelessness and give young people a chance to change their path in life on their own terms.

It'll be a one-stop-shop for vulnerable young people like Amy, operating 24/7 to make sure there's always a safe place to stay and specialist staff to provide support.

She can receive the therapy and support she needs. She can build relationships built on trust with her caseworkers. She can have her own shower, clean bedding, fresh clothes and make friends in the communal kitchen.

Amy can be herself, her real self, the person she's never been able to be before because of the challenges life has thrown in her way.

And it'll be because of you. Help build a room.

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