Sian* is a mother of three from the Melton area who has overcome adversity and created a positive new future for herself and her young family with the support of Hope Street Youth and Family Services.
Ever wondered what it would be like to have three children in your care and nowhere to call home? It's an upsetting thought for any parent, yet for a number of young families in the Melton region it's a reality that, for various reasons, they have to face.
23-year-old mother of three, Sian is no stranger to the realities of homelessness. While growing up in Melbourne, she spent years moving around, changing schools and in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services due to her mother's long-term drug addiction, and the many issues that came with that.
"We [Sian, her mum and her two younger siblings] were homeless from when I was aged 7 to 13," Sian explains. "We lived in refuges and hotels. I'd watch my mum line up in the street at the Salvation Army from 6 o'clock in the morning hoping to get a bed to sleep in that night."
Sian says that her family life lacked the basic stability and emotional support that is so essential for young children. "I was more of her shoulder to cry on than her daughter," Sian says of her mother, who she says would often take off for weeks at a time and leave her with three young siblings to take care of. "At the age of 13 I wasn't doing what normal kids are doing, I was raising my brothers and sisters."
When Sian was 16 years old, her mother left Sian and her siblings and didn't return, "She said she was going to Centrelink and never came back." Not long later Sian found herself pregnant, aged 17. "I was badly depressed when mum left and was seeing a counsellor," she explains. "I was physically ill and throwing up every day, then I discovered I was pregnant."
» Continue reading Sian's story...