From living in a tent to long-term employment, Joe (name changed for privacy) has been put through his fair share of hurdles, but the Moruya Youth Refuge helped get Joe back on his feet.

In 2012, ‘Joe’ came to the Campbell Page Moruya Youth Refuge after a family breakdown rendered him on the brink of homelessness.

After 9 months at the Moruya Youth Refuge, ‘Joe’ moved into a Southern Cross Community Housing unit in Bateman’s Bay. For the first time in Joe’s life, he was living independently and on his own. However, a new sense of freedom leads Joe down winding road. He openly admits that he was not ready to do this and the first month living on his own saw him engage in a wild lifestyle.

It took for Moruya Youth Refuge team members to step in and tell me that if I kept this lifestyle going I would lose my tenancy, for me to step up. I ended up spending two years in that unit because of that chat.

Joe was now thinking seriously about his future and kept moving from one success to another – landing his first job at a local McDonald’s, then at a Go-Kart track and finally at Woolworths, who provided him with the highest paying hob he has ever had.

Silhouette of three friends in the morning at the beach, holding hands and waiting for the sunrise. Support, together, winning, helping, freedom concept.

Once employed, and renting with friends in the private market, Joe turned his efforts to repair his relationship with his family.

I think all I ever wanted was a healthy relationship with my family. I definitely struggled mentally without them. I’m just lucky that everyone at the Refuge were so supportive and taught me that it’s okay to ask for help. They really helped me manage my life in more areas than one.

Joe is still employed by Woolworths and is enjoying his life right now. He is a frequent visitor of the refuge now as he enjoys catching up with his ‘extended family’ who taught him how to cook, clean, access services and have respect for himself and others.

I am feeling healthy and happy about where my life is taking me. Some days I still struggle, but having secure employment and healthy friendships has made everything so much easier.

This is an incredible example of the great work that the Moruya Youth Refuge does in the community. Great work everyone!

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health please visit Lifeline or call 13 11 14

If you need support or somewhere to stay, please contact us to get in touch with team members at the Moruya Youth Refuge.

Words: Tiarne Pattison