When Mel first arrived at YMCA, she was vulnerable and afraid and had run out of options. After her parents split up when she was 12, Mel found herself relying on the wrong crowd for support, taking recreational drugs, drinking and missing school. By 16, the relationship with her parents had completely broken down and she was made homeless.
Mel started sleeping on friends’ sofas and sometimes had to sleep rough – breaking into abandoned buildings just to try and escape the cold. She recalls the constant, terrifying threat of the drug users around her. Finally, she got in touch with YMCA and we gave her a room, and the support she so desperately needed.
Through regular sessions with her dedicated keyworker Samm, Mel found she had the support she needed to make a fresh start. Samm helped and encouraged her to re-sit her qualifications, and look ahead to pursuing a university degree.
Mel remembers: “At age 16 I found myself in a very dark place sleeping rough. But from this experience of hitting rock bottom, I turned my life around.”
After graduating from university, Mel had saved just enough to afford two weeks accommodation in London so she could volunteer and do unpaid work for experience to help her get full-time work. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough and, unable to secure paid work, Mel found herself facing homelessness again.
After a period of sofa surfing, Mel contacted YMCA again for help. She says, “there was tons of support and I finally felt safe again”. But that wasn’t all. With our support, Mel gained the courage to take on an art project that has led to a full-time job at YMCA, teaching arts and sewing to other residents.
“If it wasn’t for YMCA, I don’t know where I would be now. I’m now 26 and my life couldn’t be better.”
Thanks to our supporters, we were able to be there for Mel a second time, and help her turn her life around for good.
If you can give a gift today, you could help us reach out to another young person who is homeless now.
As Mel explains: “Without help from YMCA, I would probably be dead. It has been a real lifeline.”
But the shocking truth is that, in addition to the 13,000 young people being made homeless this year, 9,000 more face an uncertain future with no place to live.
Please help by sending a gift today. Thank you.
*Mel’s story is true, but we have used a model to protect her identity.