“Trinity Hill has given me a second chance when I didn’t even feel like I got a first chance,” Zack says.
On national Youth Homelessness Matters Day, we recognise the lived experience of young people facing homelessness and the people who support them.
As a young child of two very young parents Zack says things were chaotic. His mum saw him into his teenage years until she was unable to care for him any longer. He had no other choice but to live with a dad he hadn’t seen in more than a decade and where he very quickly realised, he wasn’t safe.
“When I lived with my dad, I never unpacked everything.
“I always kept one suitcase packed.
“It wasn’t until I moved in here that I unpacked everything.
“That was when the reality hit me that I was home,” he said.
Zack, 19 years, has been a resident of the Hobart Youth2Independence (Y2I) facility called Trinity Hill for two years.
“The reason why I completed year 12 and have gone on to further education is Trinity Hill.
“It’s why I have drive, it’s why I feel motivated. I never had a reason before to feel motivated.
“It’s given me the first opportunity for everything. I didn’t know what existed. I didn’t believe in myself,” Zack said.
“It’s support when you need it and it’s support you know that’s there even when you don’t need it.
“It’s one phone call or 100 metres away.”
Zack is now completing a Certificate IV in Youth Development.
“I’ve always worked in sales and I’m not passionate about KPIs but I am passionate about positive change and I want to be part of implementing that change.”
Zack is also a member of the Trinity Hill student representative body, a newly formed group that represents the views of all student residents to the Anglicare staff team who work there.
“It means your perspective has the same weight as everyone,” Zack said.
Rebekka Gale, Senior Youth Development Worker, has been with Trinity Hill since it began in January 2016. She started just after the first two residents had moved in.
She’s a social worker by profession and she had recently completed a placement with the Youth Network of Tasmania, a policy and advocacy group, when she saw the job advertised.
“I was privileged to grow up in a supportive family where I was encouraged to do things. I wanted to make a contribution and help young people who had not had the same opportunity because that support is the foundation for a successful life,” Bek said.
“A really important aspect of the Y2I model for me is that it allows young people to develop their own individual goals.
“One person might be ready to make goals for two years, another person may only be able to make goals to the end of the month.
“They don’t have to come in or leave in the same place,” Bek said.
On National Youth Homelessness Matters Day, we recognise that young people can be particularly vulnerable to homelessness as they move into adulthood.
The number of young people experiencing homelessness in Tasmania as reported through the ABS Census, has increased from 405 in 2016 to 581 young people in 2021.
Homes Tasmania is providing more help for young people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, by increasing the Y2I program.
Y2I provides accommodation and support for young people to become independent by participating in education and training.
Y2I currently provides 121 units of accommodation across three sites for young people aged 16-24 – 46 units at Trinity Hill in Hobart, 50 units at Thyne House in Launceston and 25 units at Eveline House in Devonport.
Two additional Y2I facilities are currently under construction – a $17 million 26-unit facility in central Hobart that is due for completion in the second half of 2023, and a $14.2 million 25-unit facility in Burnie due for completion in the first half of 2024.
The current Y2I facilities are managed by Anglicare. Anglicare will also manage the second Hobart facility and Youth and Family Community Connections will manage the Burnie facility.
Homes Tasmania is also expanding the program to provide small, home-like environments for young people aged 16-24 years.
Y2I Homes will deliver 20 new modular one-bedroom units located in the Burnie, Devonport, Launceston and Clarence municipalities, plus 10 share-homes, each of which will have a minimum of three bedrooms.
Y2I is changing young people’s lives around the State. Thanks to Zack and Bek for sharing their stories.
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