The Great Lakes and Manning Youth Homelessness Service

Chantelle and Hayden Share their stories

Our staff do their very best to try and make what is most often a distressing and challenging situation for clients of our service into one which is empowering, inspirational and positive.

Such outcomes don’t come easy, but sometimes the stars align and we see truly positive outcomes for the people we are funded to deliver our service to.

Chantelle and Hayden are two such examples of positive experiences and outcomes from our service in the Manning.

This is their story.

So how did you begin working with the Great Lakes and Manning Youth Homelessness Service (GLAMYHS) Hayden?

Hayden: Yeah well, I rang them up for help about a couple of months back and they helped me out because I was staying in a hotel and then I got put on with another worker, and that worker helped me out in getting transitional housing, and then helped me out getting my own house too.

So you aren’t actually in transitional accommodation anymore?

Hayden: No, I am in my own place now. It’s the first time I have had my own place. It’s alright, I like it.

How is it setting up your own house?

Hayden: I found it a bit normal because when I was in Sydney I had my room in the garage and I had the lounges set up in that too, and that was only a small space to work with. So I just used the same ideas from that, and set up my house the way I like it.

And for you Chantelle. You are also in your own place now after starting in the Garage Youth Refuge for a few months, then transitional accommodation. What is the favourite thing that you have put in your new house?

Chantelle: My stereo system, a 500 Watt one, I got it for 25 bucks and it was supposed to be $400! That’s mad!

And you Hayden?

Hayden: Just my furniture, my lounges. Yeah they’re my favourite.

How was it working with the team at the GLAMYHS?

Hayden: Yeah they worked with you. I worked with Kay when I was in transitional accommodation, but I was talking with Tammy at the start, and now I am with Vicki.

Tammy: Vicki is our worker that does the youth private rental subsidies, so there is a bit of a stage I guess, so here at the refuge if they start in the refuge they work with refuge workers; for the transitional properties they move over to Kay because she works on those ones; and moving on into their own place they move in to the youth private rental subsidies where they work with Vicki.

How does Vicki help you?

Hayden: She comes and visits us every 2 weeks and sees how we are going. She makes sure we are up to date with everything and if we need anything and that, she’s alright. She makes sure that bills are paid and the fridge is full, but I can’t stand a messy house so she doesn’t have to worry about that, I don’t want none of those uninvited friends (cockroaches). I can’t live with them!

How is it living in this part of the world?

Hayden: I rather it up here than down in Sydney. The different lifestyle, more laid back compared to down there. I live in Taree West now and I guess the best thing is the quiet, it is really quiet over there. I don’t know no one over that side. Yeah (ha ha) don’t get the visitors.

Chantelle: It’s much better up here, less people, yeah. More beaches and that.

So Chantelle, you are doing some education and training at the moment? How is that?

Chantelle: Yeah, Cert 2 in Hospitality, which is all coffee, learning how to make coffees and all that, yeah.

And what do you want to do with it?

Chantelle: Get a job. Yeah, hopefully.

How are your flat whites?

Chantelle: Oh god! I hate doing them ones! I’m still struggling trying to get used to the different coffees and that, but yeah, I’m getting there.

Tammy: But do share Chantelle, your favourite warm drink mix. When Chantelle used to be here with us she would have coffee, some mocha stuff, and some sweetened condensed milk and three sugars and milo! It was a Chantelle Special!

Chantelle: It has to be sweet! I got that from cadets because they used to give us ration packs, and in those ration packs we had condensed milk and I just liked it with hot chocolate. I like to eat it straight out of the tube.

And so Hayden, are you doing any education or employment at the moment?

Hayden: I’m waiting for a course to start in civil construction so I can work on the highways. I want to get tickets to work with machinery and that, but I am waiting for them to find land to put the machinery on there and then they are going to run a course.

Have you always thought about doing that?

Hayden: Yeah, because I like anything outdoors or hands on to do.

Have you ever come across any other young people and recommended them to the GLAMYHS?

Chantelle: A few people, yeah a few actually. Young people looking for transitional houses and that, just telling them to give the GLAMYHS a call and that they might be able to help you. I tell them that they’re good people and they will help you out. They will try their best to help you get a house.

What would you say has been the biggest change since you’ve been working with us?

Chantelle: I would say that my mental health in a way, has improved. I was heaps bad when I got here, but I am heaps better now. That’s probably the biggest thing I reckon.

Hayden: I dunno, a lot has changed, heaps has changed: I’ve got my own place, I’m more independent now.

And what can the GLAMYHS do better in your opinion?

Chantelle: I can’t complain

Hayden: There wasn’t much, because everything that I asked for you would have it or they would try and get it for me. So like, there wasn’t really much dramas or nothing. It was all positive.

Chantelle: Yeah, I’ve got nothing to whinge about with the GLAMYHS, they always helped us out.

Hayden: Because I didn’t expect this much help, I thought it was going to be more ourselves out there getting it all done. But I had their support behind us, so it gives you that little bit more confidence and that, when you go out there.

Tammy: Well that’s good, that’s what we aim to do. Excellent!

So, independence is something that you are quite happy about?

Hayden: Because I went from going from house to house, staying with people, then in a hotel, and then a shared house, I ended up getting lonely. But I didn’t mind the shared place, and then I didn’t think it was going to be like that when I got my own, but it was heaps different yeah. All the responsibilities came on to me and I knew that if I stuffed up it all comes down to me.

Chantelle: Yeah, it’s heaps better living by yourself, you don’t have to worry about other people’s messes, that’s what I like about living by myself.

So with your income do you find it hard to budget or are you pretty strict with yourselves?

Chantelle: At the moment it is a bit hard to budget.

Hayden: I don’t mind because, when I get my pay the first thing I do is go and shop. I like my food. I eat to live, so anything left over after that is just play money. As long as my fridge is full and my cupboards are full and my bills are paid.

Chantelle: And the rent subsidy is a big help too, that helps a lot.

Hayden: But one day I want to buy my own place instead. I’ll pay rent to myself instead!

Chantelle: Yeah, that’s it.

You can read more about the work of the GLAMYHS by following this link to the Community Resources Annual Report:

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