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Jason: Portrait of a young man

Runners

Jason is 17 years old and has been homeless on and off since the age of 13. He would often stay on the street in squats and with friends.

Jason's mother has been a chronic alcoholic for as long as he can remember and his biological father left the relationship when he was a baby and moved away. Jason experienced physical and mental abuse from his mother's partner and well as his mother. Jason's mother regularly spent her pension on alcohol and Jason and his sisters often went without. When drunk, Jason's mother would become abusive and hit Jason. Jason was finally asked to leave the family home for the last time when he was 16.

Jason's extended family members were unwilling to assist Jason as his mother told them he was using heroin and because of this Jason's family ceased all contact. Jason went to live with his girlfriend and her mother.

During this time, Jason was referred to the Hope Street in Melton program and assistance was provided to help him with employment, education and training, providing material aid, emotional support through counselling services as well as assistance with housing and developing health and money management programs. Jason worked hard, attended all appointments, and after completing several work trials for an apprenticeship he was offered two and was able to accept the bricklaying job he really wanted.

Unfortunately Jason and his girlfriend were evicted from her mother's house. Jason kept going to work and with the support of his Hope Street in Melton case manager, Jason was able to secure private rental. His case manager also assisted Jason to secure a bond and with moving into the property.

Jason received a call, a few weeks after moving into the property, that his biological father had died in a car crash. Jason attended the funeral, and met a lot of family for the first time.

Jason is currently working through his grief of losing his father who he had hoped one day to develop a relationship with. He was told at the funeral that his father thought of him often and had tattooed Jason's name across his heart all those years ago when he left. Jason's grandparents are now supportive of Jason and he has begun to rebuild his relationship with them. Jason's grandparents are also assisting him to see his sisters again.

Jason's story is a picture of a young person's situation, support needs and strengths as well as the significance and meaningfulness of family and loss of family. It also provides a picture of the outcomes/achievements that young people can make when provided with specialist youth homelessness support.

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