Interview: How do you move on from your experience of homelessness?
In the third and final part of our interview series with Emily, Kyle, James, Georgia and Emily T, we asked them about the stereotyping they were confronted with as young people who have been homeless. They also passed on their advice about contacting family after leaving home and told us how they feel about their lives now, having found support.
The Mix: What would you say the main stereotypes about young people who are at risk of homelessness?
Lazy, troublesome, gang affiliated, stupid, trampy, no life, no dreams, no aspirations!
It’s not your fault! No matter what others say.
When I became homeless, I was told I was stupid, I was never going to get anywhere in life. One day when I have completed my science degree, I’d love to see these people again.
That a lot of people are just leaving home because of teenage angst. A lot of people leave home due to complex issues and it’s not always just “having a rebellious phase.”
That they brought it on themselves. They’re just problem children who are lazy. They are drug addicts and selfish. The list goes on.
The Mix: What advice would you give to a young person who wants to rebuild relationships with people at home?
I would say it depends on the circumstances of why you became homeless in the first place, but I would say never go back there. Or if you want contact, I would ask for someone to set up mediation. If that works well for you great, but I would say never move back in. Because circumstances can drop. And you end up being back where you were.
Do it with a professional family intervention worker. They are qualified and are there to help!
Time is the best healer. Things may be rough, but they can get better but don’t rely on your parents again. The trust has been lost so be wary. You are strong and you can be independent.
I’d say to pick a good time to do so both for yourself and everyone else. Also, not to feel pressured to do so as sometimes rebuilding relationships is just not an option.
Take things slow. You may feel like things have to be either fixed or broken, but it takes time to repair things, should YOU feel you want to. Please remember you are not obligated to be friends with anyone, especially just because they have the same blood as you. Remember your self-worth.
The Mix: What achievements do you feel most proud of from the past year?
Becoming a peer mentor and be able to be there for other people.
To be able to still have my flat and having the support networks around me like my 18+worker and having St Basils be there for me.
Sitting on St Basils Board and getting into university.
In the last year I’ve mostly stopped taking laxatives and gone from about 100 a day to taking about 20 a month. I’ve also kept up my volunteering for a local homeless shelter and have been asked if I want to help set up and then become a deputy coordinator at a new homeless shelter.
Completing the Access to Higher Education: Health and Human Science Course and getting into University on an Applied Bioscience degree. Also becoming campus officer within the student union and being part of youth voice. Also raising £488.12 for breast cancer now.
I’m trying. That’s a big difference to this time last year.
The Mix: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
People do care!
The system really fucked me up and over. It needs serious reform and should not be giving jobs to people just because they are qualified to do it, but because they show an understanding of the circumstances. They need to want to actually help homeless youths, not prejudge them and make them feel worse, condescend them, or just fuck up their life really.
At times when we are homeless it feels like we’re alone. Almost as if we are going through it all by ourselves. Even though we live in an accommodation with many other people it still feels like we’re alone. There needs to be more activities for young people that doesn’t include travelling or money for food. I think we need to learn (cultivated learning) that despite our current circumstance we are important and we can help others who have gone or are going through similar things. Young people need something to aspire towards not just a flat or a house but a career. A life worth living rather than just surviving.
If you need to leave home and you’re looking for support…
If you’re feeling unsafe and you think you might need to leave home, it can be a really scary time; but know that you’re not alone and we’re here for you. If you want some advice, support or just someone to talk to, you can contact The Mix and speak to our team of experts and trained volunteers. Our services are free and confidential, and you can get in touch here.
The Mix would like to thank Youth Voice, St Basils, Emily, James, Kyle, Emily T and Georgia for their involvement in the interviews.
- The Albert Kennedy Trust supports LGBT people aged 16-25-years-old who are homeless or living in a hostile environment. AKT has offices in London (call on 020 7831 6562), Manchester (0161 228 3308) and Newcastle (0191 281 0099).
- Shelter offers advice on all housing issues. Get advice here or by calling their housing helpline 0808 800 4444. If you're in Scotland, use http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/
- Crisis helps single homeless people, aiming to break the cycle of homelessness.
- If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
- Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
- Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.
Updated on 29-Jan-2020
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