When Mum packed up and left, I had nothing. I was 17, and I didn’t know what to do. I was one friend’s couch away from being on the street. This is my story. I hope, after reading it, you will understand why Pathway’s Launch program is so important for young homeless men in the Tasmanian community.

I’ll say straight up that I love my family, but to be honest, it was hard living with them.

There were problems with money and drugs, and my parents separated when I was six. My younger brother and I went to live with mum, and we spent years moving around WA, Adelaide and eventually Tasmania.

It was hard to make friends and school was pointless.

Now I’m older, I look back and think that Mum was probably in trouble every time we had to move. Debts, destructive relationships and her bad behavior would catch up with her….and off we’d go again.

When I was 17, we were evicted from our home.

Mum and my younger brother collected the last of our things and drove off to stay at a friends house. I soon found out they had  returned to the mainland, and I was left alone. No food and nothing to cook with and only $5 for 4 days.

After that my cousin decided to let me stay for a while to collect myself. I was feeling really down – unmotivated, like no-one really cared. 

I couldn’t figure out how to get my life on track. I was filled with shame and I couldn’t bear to ask for help. I spiraled into drugs and alcohol and tried to avoid responsibility. Eventually I overstayed my welcome.

I had to leave the house, and I found myself couch surfing.

Who teaches you where you can go, how you set yourself up? How do you get a place to live?  A job? Educated?  And who is there to care about what eventually happens?

Pathway’s Launch program answers these questions for kids like me, and your donation today will make sure more homeless kids can get the shelter and guidance they need.

My mates Mum worked out what was going on. She was awesome, and put me onto Launch.

Launch is a Hobart shelter for young men who are either homeless or troubled by mental health issues. You can stay there medium to long term and it’s the only place like it in Tasmania.

I moved in. There were four other residents, and a team of Youth Workers. and at first, I was a bit worried. Was I going to get picked on? Would it be like prison?

That seems so stupid now, because Launch was awesome. The staff really cared. I wasn’t just a client, they saw me as a person. They were so good at listening, giving advice. Like older brothers and sisters. They made me feel good about myself. If I mattered to them, maybe I wasn’t so bad after all?

Me and Youth Worker Nat (he’s an ex-resident of Launch too)

Teaching life skills is a really important part of Launch. When you’re a resident, you’re rostered on to do certain jobs on certain days. Like, you have to cook tea — whatever you want — when it’s your turn. I didn’t know how to cook, but the staff were always there to help you. Now, I can cook 🙂

The program makes options for your future clear, like showing you how to get into education. They helped me to apply to TAFE, and I’m going next year.

I’m doing Community Services Certificate IV, and when I’ve finished I want to go back and work at Launch for sure. As soon as I’ve finished, I’ll bang on the door and say, “What’s up? You guys need me!” I’ll just hang around until there’s a job for me 🙂

The last time I saw Mum was last year at Christmas. I think about them a bit at this time of year, but I reckon when your birth family aren’t around, you get to choose your family — and mine became the guys at Launch.

Your donation today will directly help people like me. I know for a fact that Launch saved me. Will you help them save someone else?