Mark was homeless and alone at 15.
Mark and his mum were only just getting by. Like many low-income families, they were living in a private rental house. It wasn’t a very good house – damp and cold and way out on the edge of town, but it was all they could get. Mum couldn’t work because she had some serious mental health issues. They struggled to pay the bills. Particularly the power bill, so it regularly got cut off.
It was a hard life for a bright teenage boy. He didn’t talk about it, and on the surface, his life didn’t seem that different from his friends. Money was tight in all their homes.
And then things got really bad.
Mum had a psychotic episode and was held in hospital for compulsory treatment. Their landlord evicted Mark and his mum while she was in hospital leaving Mark locked out of the house, alone and with no money. He wasn’t allowed to see her, didn’t know how long she’d be gone and the rest of his family was based in Australia.
Fortunately, thanks to kind people like you, when he most needed it, Mark had support from a Barnardos whānau worker.
“Now, Mark is living with a family connection. He’s doing well at school, determined to complete his education.”
At first, Mark stayed with a school friend and his family but they really didn’t have the room, or the resources to support another child for long. His whānau worker was able to talk to them and provide practical supports like supermarket vouchers to make it easier for them.
Over the next weeks, he continued to work with Mark on ways to improve his situation. Finding him a more permanent place to live, going with him to see his mum in hospital, and talking to the school about the support they could offer.
Now, Mark is living with a family connection. He’s doing well at school, determined to complete his education.
Donate today to make sure support for children and young people like Mark is always available.*To ensure the privacy and safety of everyone concerned, names in this story have been changed and models have been used for all photography.