Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla teenagers speak out about homelessness

Three Benalla residents are speaking up to bring the issue of youth homelessness into the spotlight.

July 30, 2014 3:55am

Seventeen-year-old Jason* did not know where he would live this week.

When he was kicked out of home earlier this year the Benalla P-12 College student was taken in by a local community member.

But this week that living arrangement could not continue, and Jason did not know where he would stay.

‘‘It hasn’t hit me yet,’’ he told the Ensign last week.

‘‘I have no idea where I’ll go.’’

Jason is one of several teenagers who are homeless in Benalla.

Sam*, 17, said he was left without somewhere to live earlier this year after he was told he could not live with his mother in Melbourne any more.

He moved in with his father in Benalla but said he moved out shortly after when he felt unsafe because of drug use by people within the home.

Sam did not know where he could go, but after a phone call to a friend he found himself in the home of Libby Skilbeck.

The Benalla mother has provided temporary accommodation to four teenagers at her home within the past year, including Sam and Jason.

‘‘If it wasn’t for Libby I’d probably be under a bit of tin in someone’s paddock,’’ Sam said.

According to the 2011 Census about 6130 Victorians between the ages of 12 and 25 have nowhere to call home, and almost 60 per cent of homelessness service users are under the age of 25.

The trio spoke to the Ensign last week in a bid to bring the issue of youth homelessness into the spotlight.


For full story see this week’s Ensign.

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