As already discussed in this module, more often than not, there are several pressure points that a person faces. Daniel’s story explores how age, relationships, money and substance misuse can work together to prolong the effects of homelessness. Here he suggests some points at which an intervention would have really helped him.
“Thinking back to the support I received when I first experienced youth homelessness it is hard for me to say whether or not I received the best support possible, or if there was anything missing from the support I received, as I had nothing to compare it to. I was placed in supported housing initially with other young people and was in that situation for a year. Actually, now that I think about it there were bullying issues between myself and one other young person which I didn’t say anything bout for a long time. Only at the insistence by my partner at the time did I mention it to my support worker (BAYS) at which point an investigation was started and that person was removed. So perhaps one area of support that was lacking was making sure that young people living in the same space are getting along and watching out for any signs of bullying etc. Young people who have faced problematic backgrounds now all living together are sure to encounter relationship issues, so carefully observing interactions between them is important.
Additional support I wish I had received was around financial matters. Whilst this should also be the responsibility of parents/school, due to my circumstances as I was now having to juggle benefits, rent, the buying of food etc. I made a lot of mistakes during this time, taking out phone contracts, not paying bills etc because I didn’t realise the importance that needed to be placed on doing this nor did I realise the consequences of not keeping on top of these things (I didn’t even know what a credit rating was!) because of this I have been negatively affected by bad credit, debts etc for over a decade and have felt as though I have always been on the backfoot as opposed to my peers who didn’t face the same challenges around homelessness.
To others who find themselves in the same situation I was in during my youth I would try to instill in them the importance of keeping on top of money matters, I would STRONGLY try to dissuade them from drinking/drugs (although I accept this is part of growing up) it’s just that the negative consequences of this can be life lasting and I would assure them that the situation they are in now, whilst difficult, is not permanent.”
Listen to the audio for this lesson below.