I gained a lot of weight because I wasn't able to find the foods that I needed. I was having to buy cup noodles and stuff like that, and I just got very, very sick from it. It affected my mental health and it affected my studies a lot. It just sucked, all of it.
Issues at home
I moved out from home because I had some issues with my family. I had made friends with people that I actually could connect with, and those weren't the sort of people my parents liked. They were people who were a bit more creative, a bit more outside the norm. Really nice people, but they weren't the sort of people my parents supported me hanging out with.
My parents wanted me to hang out with the church group. The people who are going places in their lives, and well, the people I'm hanging out with are going places. They're just not going to church. I'm hanging out with the gay community, which is a community that I'm actually part of — surprise, parents — and I'm much happier, more comfortable as I am now than I was when I was living with my parents.
Before becoming homeless, I was living at the Foyer, and that was really good. That was very stable for me. The Foyer is shared accommodation for youths and young parents.
At the Foyer, you're allowed to have about two years of living there, and you sign papers to say that you're going to be moving out after that stage. The Foyer can't let you go out into homelessness, which is nice. Unfortunately, it didn't help me.
What ended up happening was my time ran out there, so I had to move out, and I moved into a share house. I was looking for ages and I actually went over the allotted time I was given for living at the Foyer. I had everything packed up, and was just waiting to find a place. I finally got a share house, and it just went downhill from there.
The share house
The share house was with older people. There were three adults, and I was 19. The house itself wasn't that great. I was just sort of living there because it was the closest house to TAFE that I could find, and it was cheapish, but it wasn't cheap enough.
At one stage, my whole income was going on rent. I was given money from Centrelink because I'm studying. I remember this horrifying day when I had given my landlord rent, and then I went back on payday to see how much I'd been given, and it was under $200, and the rent I was paying was $250, and I nearly cried there at the ATM. I was just so scared.
I wasn't on the lease, so I wasn't getting rent assistance, so I wasn't able to make the rent one week. I was going to be able to make it by payday, but the person I was giving money to wouldn't listen to me. And then I lost my phone and my phone had all my schoolwork and schedules and everything on it, so I had to try and replace that, and I just got kicked out.
I was given 48 hours to get my stuff out of the house. I had to call my mum. The thing was I didn't have a phone, so I had to race down to TAFE and use their Wi-Fi and their internet to get in contact with Mum. She eventually showed up and we packed up all my stuff and got it out of the house as quickly as possible, left the key, and just left.
Where to next
I had no idea where I was going be staying. There was a moment when I was thinking, "Oh, god, I'm going have to fork out money to stay at one of the hostels, and those are $30 a night, and $10 for a deposit". And, I was terrified of having to do that because that would've sapped all my money for the week, and then I would've been sleeping out on the street for the next week.
Mum took all my stuff back to my parent's place, and I moved in with one of my friends for a month.
It was awful. I hated being a burden on my friend like that and I didn't have the money to really help her with rent and electricity and stuff, and I was very upset having to put so much pressure on my friend like that.
I didn't have any blankets, so I had to and buy some. I had to buy so many things, and it was cold. Everything about it sucked.
Hope for the future
My friend and I are now living together in a flat. I have to be really careful with budgeting my money, so I have enough for rent from week to week. I have a tutor to catch up on my studies. I am hoping to stay in Warrnambool for another year, then I've got lots of friends up in Melbourne, who I'm hoping to start a share house with of our own — one that isn't terrifying and a bit more young-person friendly. I will probably continue a little bit of education up there as well and, hopefully, I'll be able to get a job and, you know, settle, and find a partner who's not crazy.