Thomas was made to leave home at only 13 years old.
Only two years prior, Thomas’ dad tragically passed away, which had a devastating impact on his family.
Thomas remembers his father suffered from poor mental health when he was alive, though he is fond of the memories he has of him as a loving and caring father.
When his mum remarried, Thomas thought it would be a fresh start for his family and help them regain some sense of normalcy. But sadly, this was not the case.
His stepfather was controlling and inflicted abuse on Thomas, his mum, and sister. Thomas tried to protect his mother and sister during his stepfather’s violent outbursts.
Tragically, Thomas’ mum believed him to be the cause of the conflict and kicked him out of the house.
Thomas tried returning home many times but couldn’t stay more than two days before the family relationship broke down again. This was heartbreaking for him, as he loved his sister and mother, but couldn’t stand being told that his behaviours were the reason he could not return home.
Thomas was homeless at 13 years old.
He would stay wherever he could. Couch-surfing some nights, he often slept in a different place each night. Or, if he couldn’t find a room for the night, he slept on the streets.
While living on the street, Thomas had numerous run-ins with the police for stealing food to feed himself. Through no fault of his own, he was on a path that could have devastating effects on the rest of his life.
When Thomas came to MacKillop’s Homeless Youth Assistance Program, it was the first time in two years that he had a consistent, safe place to sleep.
Thomas had been let down by every adult he had trusted. When asked about his goals or aspirations, he said he didn’t have any. He didn’t believe in himself and didn’t believe that he could ever make something of his life.
“If you kick me out of here, I’ll just go back to living on the street. I don’t care,” he would say.
Thomas was trying to be so tough and strong, but deep down he was a scared young person who needed someone to look after him and love him.
His caseworker and the team around them worked hard to create a caring and nurturing environment to help Thomas feel safe and to open up and talk about his past.
Now 17, Thomas is flourishing. He has a part-time job, got his ‘L’ plates, and is pursuing a certificate in Early Childhood Education & Care — an industry he is extremely passionate about.
He is working hard to mend his relationship with his mum. While it’s not possible for Thomas to return home right now, he frequently visits his mum and sister and recently went on a holiday with them.
Thanks to crucial intervention at the right time by the Homeless Youth Assistance Program, Thomas is back on the right path and being supported towards a successful future.