At Lighthouse, homeless young people, usually aged 15 – 22 years who have experienced traumatic backgrounds receive intensive support and care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They live in safe homes where they are given the opportunity to heal, form meaningful relationships and rebuild their lives.
Experienced live in Carers act as a therapeutic parent, providing the support that’s needed, together with a range of tailored therapeutic, education and life skills training activities. A team of professional psychologists, counsellors and youth workers help the young people to heal and guide them to create their own futures. Along the way, they learn to relate to others, rebuild their dignity and self-respect, develop self-confidence and the capacity to trust others.
It might take a while – but at Lighthouse, we work with them for as long as it takes. When they are almost ready to transition to independent living, the young people can bridge the gap between the security of a Lighthouse home and independent living by moving to the Lighthouse transition home. Here they are provided with the support necessary to make their transition to independent living within the community successful.
The Lighthouse program provides young people with ‘life membership’. This means that even when a young person has moved out of a Lighthouse home, they can remain connected to the Lighthouse family and community through the Aftercare and Outreach program.
* In Australia, around 105,000 people are homeless on any given night.
* Nearly half (45.2 per cent) of all people seeking the support of specialist homelessness services are young people under 18 years of age.
* In Victoria, 63% of the homeless were aged 34 or younger, compared with the national figure of 58%.
* One-fifth (19%) of the homeless in Victoria were teenagers aged 12 to 18 (mainly living on their own).
Most homeless young people are forced to leave home because the physical, sexual or psychological violence and abuse inflicted on them becomes unbearable – the only way to survive is to just walk away. Other major reasons that young people are forced to leave home include neglect, family breakdown, illness and poverty.
There is now a great deal of evidence that jettisons the myth that ‘people don’t choose to be homeless’. People may choose not to live in fear of their lives in shelters or institutions – but every person – every single one of the 105,000 people who are homeless this evening across Australia – would live in decent accommodation, given half a chance. However, homelessness is so much more than not having a roof over your head. It also entails the loss of security, stability, love, self-esteem, opportunities for growth and all else that is associated with the concept of home.
Lighthouse is sincerely grateful to supporters from corporate and philanthropic organisations, as well as individuals who generously share their time, their expertise and their funds to keep Lighthouse homes open.
ABN: 12 101 549 508