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Help homeless youth feel important from the ground up

The Property Industry Foundation is holding a Charity Pledge Night on 3 December fundraising to build homes for homeless youth. At this free to register event, you will hear stories from the charities we work with to build the homes where young people can find their self worth and motivation.

Lulu Harrison from The Lighthouse Foundation showed us the impact of building a home for a young person can have beyond having a place to sleep. She shared a heart-wrenching story about one of their teenage boys that really shows the greater impact of creating a space for a young person to grow.

Last year, one of our Lighthouse Homes was renovated including all of the kid’s bedrooms. As you can imagine, the finished rooms were spectacular. The furnishings and décor were extraordinary – luxurious and ideal teenage sanctuaries.

Everyone was very excited to hear the reactions from the very first young people who took possession of these rooms. It was a bit deflating when one teenage boy named Axel just sniffed and said dismissively – ”This’ll be OK,” before closing himself behind the door. The next morning, the carers were amazed to see that the bed had been made immaculately – with all the fancy pillows perfectly arranged, and not a wrinkle in the doona. Axel was praised day after day for his skills in keeping the room, and the bed, exactly as he had found it. One night there was an upset with one of the other young people in the home, and Axel came out in his (new) pyjamas to see what was happening. Through the open door, the carers could see that the bed was untouched, and there was just a throw rug on the fluffy rug and a small cushion. Axel admitted that he had been sleeping on the floor.

He explained that we needed to understand that he didn’t really need that bed. He had never ever had a place like this, and a room like this. He had never had a private quiet place to sleep like this. He said that we should get another kid to come in and have the bed because he was totally fine on the floor and that was the best sleeping place he could ever have. He said that a fancy bed like that wasn’t meant for people like him.

This heartbreaking revelation led to a gradual process of working with the carers and psychologists – getting him to use the bed, and to come to understand that he WAS worthy of having a bed like that. He had previously slept a lot in cars and squats, as well as couch surfing and rough street sleeping. Axel is still in Lighthouse’s Teenagers and Young People’s program and is continuing his healing journey to process the trauma of homelessness. One day, he hopes to become a musician- a dream he once never thought possible.

Axel’s story shows it’s not just a bedroom you help provide, but empowerment and confidence to chase their goals and drive them to a better future.

The Property Industry Foundation Charity Pledge Night on 3 December helps us continue our mission of building homes and providing more bedrooms for young people like Axel. You will hear stories like Axel’s from the charities we work with and help us create the spaces where young people find their self worth and motivation.