Jessie*, a 20-year-old young man, was referred to Options Youth Housing early 2015. Jessie had been ‘couch surfing’ in an attempt to escape his family home where long-term family violence and drug abuse were present. Jessie was experiencing significant depression and anxiety as a result of years of trauma and abuse. Jessie was offered a bedsit unit at the Options program and the staff supported him to stabilise his mental health by linking him in with a psychologist and psychiatrist.
Within seven months, Jessie situation improved to the point where he landed a casual position in a retail store and managed to increase his hours over time, as well as enrolling in a performing arts course. Over time, the staff at Options witnessed a once nervous, quiet young man gain incredible confidence in himself and find hope in his future.
Some twelve months later, Jessie enrolled in full time university studies and acquired a new part-time job. Heartbreakingly, during this period, his eight-year-old sister Amy was involved in a car accident at the hands of their older brother and suffered a permanent brain injury. Shortly after, Jessie’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and needed to undergo treatment leaving her unable to provide full-time care for her daughter. Jessie’s step-father had a long history of drug addiction was not able to care for the young girl either. As there was no one to provide care for his sister due his mother’s illness and his step-fathers drug addiction, Jessie dropped his studies and picked up more hours at work in order to take on full guardianship and care of his sister.
During this stressful period, Jessie accumulated rent arrears and debts that were unmanageable and his depression returned. The staff at Options supported Jessie in nominating him for a bigger, two-bedroom property through a Community Housing Provider (CHP) partnership, supporting him with his rent arrears through advocacy to the CHP, assisting him with his budgeting skills, and supporting him to maintain his mental health and wellbeing.
Today, Jessie and his sister Amy have moved from an Options property into a Community Housing property. Options continue to provide the young family with case management support despite having exited from our accommodation. This support will continue for as long as it is needed, helping Jessie though his journey towards independence.