As a teenager, Amy-Lee struggled with not being able to manage substances and gambling, was in an unhealthy domestic violence relationship, and eventually ended up on the streets. When BYS helped her into hotel accommodation during the COVID-19 lockdowns, she was able to access consistent ongoing supports that changed her life.
I spent time in a ‘trap house’ surrounded by people struggling with drugs and felt extremely unsafe. Things weren’t going well for me in there and I was facing some court charges that I took for a boyfriend I was only with for a few months who ended up going to jail. I got transferred from the courts to the Salvation Army trying to connect me to some accommodation, and they introduced me to BYS. Through the COVID-19 lockdowns, BYS helped me into hotel accommodation, and I then received one-on-one support from Tanya and Maddy.
Being put in a hotel changed my life completely. I was homeless before then. After, I had full-time security, safety, support and a family for the first time in ages. I got five fish while I was there, but was only really allowed to keep one, so I called him ‘Backup’, and Tanya would help me look after him and take his water to get tested. Maddy helped define a significant life mantra for me: ‘Trust the process’. I stayed in the hotel for around ten weeks with ongoing support from BYS – drug and alcohol support, counselling including financial counselling, and education around DV which helped me gain new understanding and skills. I was then fortunate enough to be placed in a unit in Windsor. I received help from the BYS team with furniture and ongoing supplies for food.
I started going into group sessions at the BYS Hub and kept receiving one-on-one support from my workers. Tanya continued to provide drug and alcohol support and taking me to appointments, putting money on my go card, she helped me with everything. I was able to access a doctor and counsellor onsite at BYS. They would help get my prescription glasses and medications. All of these supports changed my life. I was in Windsor for over a year and a half, until unfortunately a chain of events forced me to leave. After Windsor, my workers supported a transition to my mum’s house, getting clean, and going to rehab. They helped with my medications throughout that transition and have continued to provide emotional support since I came to rehab. I’ve now been sober for 141 days. Tanya, Maddy and I celebrated my achievements by going to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Amy-Lee’s Story When I leave rehab, I will be going into a halfway program linked to the rehab. I’ll continue groupwork and urine tests and accessing support and groups through the rehab program. I feel really good.
Rehab is the best thing I ever did – apart from coming to BYS! I’ve made friends with everyone and have a good house here. A couple of friends I’ll have forever, and most importantly they’re not users, so it’s safe for me. I wasn’t close to my mum growing up, but with good advice from Tanya, I managed to keep in contact with her. I ended up seeing her for the first time in three years which was very emotional and difficult, but now we have a new relationship. I’ve even connected with my grandmother. I’m so happy to have connected with my family again. Throughout all of these difficulties we have shared some amazing healing laughter – Tanya and I were always laughing. The team at BYS– David, Tanya, Michael, Ollie, Maddy– are really great. I cannot thank them enough or repay them with anything in this world that they’ve done for me – it’s been huge. In the future I want to become a social worker because I’d like to help young ones who’ve gone through the same thing I have.