Since becoming homeless at 13, Charlie* spent the next three years couch surfing amongst friends and acquaintances. But years living with the instability, shame and worry of becoming a burden took its toll, and he developed a drug habit to cope.
“I was unhealthy and malnourished. Eventually, I got sent to juvie (juvenile detention) for two years,” he explained.
Young people aged 15-24 without stable accommodation are more likely to ‘couch surf’ than any other group, but during the pandemic, people have been hesitant to open their homes. When Charlie was released, he couldn’t find anywhere to stay.
Fortunately, he was linked to Baptist Care SA’s temporary accommodation service where he has blossomed. A deep, reflective thinker, Charlie’s creativity has given him a positive outlet to express himself through graffiti art, rap, and poetry.
Now free from drugs, Charlie has settled well, been offered a full-time apprenticeship, and is completing high school this year.
“I knew I had to change to save my life. I’ve received lots of support from the staff. They’re proud of all the positive changes I’ve made and believe I am going to achieve great things.”
Charlie is now working hard towards his dream of becoming a chef and being reunited with his siblings.
*not his real name
You were my happiest hello
and my hardest goodbye
Without you here I live in fright
and wonder why I can’t sleep at night
Thinking why you left me here to cry
but I soldier on and keep my head high
And I think about the good times with you and
I can’t be the best kid but all I can do is try
And remove myself from these lies
and clearing my mind late at night
I wish I could fly away like a kite
But I am stuck in this trap like mice
this world is a board game and I am ready to roll the dice
and see how far I can get in this mysterious life
Just me myself and I
in these cold winters’ nights
with no one around not even any mice
just all this running down my spine
Your heart is gold and I am the mine
I will dig for you until you’re mine
When I go to sleep I see you in my mind
but when I wake up you’re gone with the light
I wish you’d come back so I don’t live in fright
but that’s all right you’re in a better place so keep tight
You’re a beautiful butterfly so use those wings and fly
I will see you one day when I am finished this mysterious life.
Baptist Care SA, lives, works and walks on Kaurna, Peramangk and Boandik lands. We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the state’s first peoples, recognise their traditional ownership, and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs, deep connection and continued guardianship of land and waters. We value the contributions of Elders past and present, and are committed to learning from those emerging.