You Can Make A Difference
“You can imagine how heart-breaking it is, when there’s no suitable accommodation available and instead, you have to prepare a young person for a night sleeping rough on the street. We discuss safety planning and (if we have any) give them some food and a sleeping bag.”
– Alex, BYS Youth Worker
Youth homelessness in Brisbane has been increasing over time, but the huge surge that we are now seeing is shocking — a torrent of young people who have exhausted all options and are sleeping rough… and we have nowhere to place them. It is beyond what the current infrastructure and budgets can manage. WE NEED YOUR HELP to at least address the urgent needs of these young people, while the bigger work is done to create new support programs and housing options.
I love my job but it’s not easy.
Every day I meet young people who have faced more hardship and adversity in their short lives than many of us will experience in a lifetime.
My name is Alex and I’m a youth worker at Brisbane Youth Service (BYS).
I met Brodie around 12 months ago, when he first came to BYS for help. He was sleeping rough at the time and was very unwell.
I learned that he had been homeless since he was a young teenager. Like so many of the young people we meet, Brodie experienced violence and significant trauma in his family home growing up.
Experiencing homelessness from such a young age intensified Brodie’s mental health issues and exposed him to further violence and trauma — he’s been assaulted multiple times while sleeping rough, with one instance of serious sexual assault.
Most of the time when he visits, he’s looking for something to eat and drink, and checking in to see if we’ve found somewhere for him to stay. More often than not, I have to tell him, “Sorry mate, there are no accommodation options for you again today.” If we’re well stocked, I get him a feed and a blanket and let him rest on our couch for a bit — he’s usually worn-out from lack of sleep.
Brodie says it’s safer to stay awake when you’re on the streets.
On a recent visit to BYS, all I could offer him was the last sleeping bag we had in stock—a red one. Later that same day, I saw Brodie at the train station. He was laying on the ground, huddled under that sleeping bag, surrounded by authorities who were trying to ‘move him on’.
It was such a poignant moment for me. Do you know that haunting scene from the movie Schindler’s List, with the young girl in the red coat against that bleak, colourless backdrop? That was what flashed through my mind seeing Brodie under that red sleeping bag.
It was so heart-wrenching knowing how much he’s suffering, and it has stayed with me ever since.
My hope for Brodie is that with the right resources and support, he’s able to gain stability and make steps towards sustainably managing his own health and wellbeing. I know his journey will be a long one, but I wish for a home for him and the chance to create a future of his own design.
How We Help
Youth homelessness is at crisis point in our country.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic and amidst the escalating housing crisis, BYS is being overwhelmed with demand, supporting young people facing homelessness and many more who are already homeless.
At BYS, we meet young people at a crucial time of great need – but also a great opportunity for early intervention supports to break the cycle of homelessness before it is entrenched.
BYS provides a range of free-of-charge, critical support and integrated services including emergency relief, housing, physical, mental health, and drug and alcohol programs, parenting assistance, and domestic violence interventions. Advocacy and support are also provided to help navigate complex government systems and engage in employment or further study.
All forms of homelessness significantly reduce after engaging in BYS programs. In 2021-22, we saw an 82% decrease in young people living in unsafe housing after support from BYS.
Get In Touch
For more information, please contact email@example.com.