They can be anyone – regardless of their socio-economic, cultural, religious, educational or family background and upbringing.
Young people aged 12 to 18 years are the largest group of people experiencing homelessness in Australia today. Nearly half (45.2 per cent) of all people seeking the support of specialist homelessness services are young people under 18 years of age,
Increasing numbers of young people are in the State’s care and protection system. There are high levels of homelessness being experienced today by young people leaving the State’s care and child protection systems.
Many young adults who are experiencing homelessness do not have the income or life skills to manage a home of their own.
Young people at Lighthouse usually come from a background of long term neglect and abuse, often caused by physical and domestic abuse, sexual abuse and rape, neglect and abandonment, and from disadvantaged families or families where parents are suffering from significant mental illness. As a result, they present with complex problems such as serious emotional and behavioural disturbances, increased risk of self harm, substance abuse and severe emotional attachment problems, post traumatic stress and adjustment disorders and anxiety – and many have developed other mental illnesses along the way. All of them present with challenging and anti-social behaviours, and many have a juvenile justice history.
Many of these young people have never experienced what we would call normal family life. They don’t know what it’s like to be in a family – a safe place where people talk to each other, where domestic arguments are dealt with properly, where food is cooked and eaten around a table or in front of TV – and where domestic violence, sexual abuse and dysfunction are unknown. This is the scenario that the young people crave – to be secure, to belong, and to be supported as they courageously undertake their journey back to ‘normality’.
Over the past nearly 20 years, Lighthouse Foundation has provided – not simply a roof over a head – but a long-term family-style home environment for nearly 500 of these traumatised and vulnerable young people who have been living on our streets.
These kids are usually aged between 15 and 22 - sometimes we think we should call them ‘children’, their development has been interrupted to the point that just surviving day to day becomes the main game. Lighthouse does not provide a short-term fix – we don’t just offer kids a short-term roof over the head - and then when the funding runs out - or they act out - or when they turn a certain age, they’re thrown back on the streets again.
At Lighthouse, young people can stay for as long as it takes. And it takes time – sometimes years – for them to recover and be restored - to be healed, to begin to relate to others and communicate effectively, to regulate their emotions, to deal with conflict and manage their stress, respond to challenges to achieve a successful outcome, and make positive life-changing decisions. Ultimately, they become ready to learn new skills and are able to re-integrate and become contributing members of the community.
* physical and domestic abuse
* sexual abuse and rape
* neglect and abandonment
* cultic, religious and ritualistic abuse
* third world poverty, war and torture
* adoption breakdown
* struggling families that are financially disadvantaged
* parents’ suffering from a significant mental illness
* families with poor parenting skills
* death of parents and/or significant others
* families with significant general health problems
* families involved heavily with drug use
* families involved with major crime
* family rejection based on religious views
* family rejection based on sexual preference
* family rejection based on disability (intellectual, mental illness, drug dependency)
* limited education
* mental illness and adjustment disorders (e.g. severe personality disorders)
* post traumatic stress disorder and other dissociative conditions
* eating disorders
* anxiety and mood disorders and anti social behaviour
* psychotic disorders (sometimes substance induced)
* chemical dependency
* dual diagnosis (e.g. mental illness and drug addiction)
* full range of addictive behaviours (e.g. gambling, over-eating, promiscuity)
* suicidality and para-suicidalty
* criminal behaviours (e.g. assaults, theft)
* under-developed life skills, difficulties building and maintaining healthy relationships
* rebellious and high level risk-taking behaviours
* intellectual disability and physical disability
ABN: 12 101 549 508