Tessa’s* Story

For thirty years, Kids Under Cover’s unique combination of accommodation and scholarships have been a proven and effective strategy of preventing young people from the devastating experience of homelessness. 

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This time two years ago, single mother Tessa* was caring for her five sons and a sixth child in a four-bedroom property. The family unit is made up of her sons now aged 19, 17, 15-year-old twins, and the youngest 12. Tessa has also taken on full-time care of 19-year-old Connor*, who is a friend of her own 19-year-old son Troy*. Tessa and her boys are survivors of family violence and have endured more in their lives than many of us could imagine.

“Before the Kids Under Cover studio arrived, it was hell! Even before Connor came it was so cramped. There was a lot of aggression and frustration, nobody had their own space to retreat to.”

Troy was sleeping in a curtained-off section of the kitchen; Connor was sleeping in the lounge room and one of the twins was sleeping in a converted back porch.

Sharing any of the three bedrooms was extremely difficult because four of the boys have Autism Spectrum Disorder. This affects each of the boys differently, but typically impacts their ability to respect boundaries and have insight into the needs for privacy and quiet for their co-habitants.

The chaos and disruption in the home escalated as the boys grew older, as did the risk of homelessness.

Troy, Tessa & Connor

 “Two years ago, at Christmas nobody could visit us because of the lack of space. It was always a fight; the festive season is supposed to be a special time to come together with family and loved ones. But for me and the kids it was just so stressful, I hated it, it was just a nightmare.”

Tessa’s family story is complex, at times harrowing and full of despair. But Tessa and her family live by a motto. “If you save one life, you save the world.”

Tessa did this when she took in Troy’s friend Connor. Connor had experienced periods of homelessness prior to coming to live with Tessa’s family.

“Troy and Connor met at their special-needs school. It came to a point where Connor was 16 and had nowhere else to go.”

Even though Tessa and her family had their own challenges, she didn’t hesitate in taking Connor in.

“I had a bout of homelessness myself when I was young. I just couldn’t bear the thought of Connor on the streets. It’s no place for a kid, especially not one with his needs.”

“The Kids Under Cover studio is a saviour for our family. It’s not just four walls and a roof, it’s so much more.”

“As a mother I was constantly trying to get in between and defuse the aggressive tension, terrified it was only a matter of time before something dire and tragic would happen. Now I find I’m beginning to finally breathe again. I cannot express how humbly grateful I am for that.”

“Having a safe and stable home for all my boys this festive season, and beyond, is the greatest gift we’ve ever received as a family.”

By supporting Kids Under Cover, you are a vital part of a unique and practical approach to prevent youth homelessness.

 

*Name changed to protect identity

Your continued support will ensure young people like Connor and Troy have the chance at a brighter future. Together we can make life changing difference.

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