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Zac and Hayley's Story

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With a baby on the way, 16 year old Zac and Hayley were staring down the barrel of being homeless and having to drop out of high school.


Zac and Hayley were just 16 when they found out they were going to be parents.  Unfortunately they didn’t have a stable home.

They were living with Zac’s mum in a small unit, made smaller still by his mum’s long running battle with severe depression and anxiety. They couldn’t live with Hayley’s parents because of the substance abuse.

With a baby on the way it was only going to get harder.

Private rental wasn’t an option – they wouldn’t even get a look in twice with realtors because of their age. They had a social worker looking for places, but none seemed the right fit.  Zac had goals but no direction to reach them.

Finally a place came up at a Salvation Army youth residential program. After Hayley gave birth to their son Ethan, they moved in and for the next two years were supported to complete their schooling as well as raise their child.

We helped Hayley complete her VCE with a baby and also helped Zac secured an electrician apprenticeship. Zac now works 5 days a week to support his family and the three of them currently live in a private rental.

Today, Zac and Hayley are living independently, working, and raising their little boy Ethan in a stable family environment. 

Their success is owed to the generous support we receive from amazing people like you.  Your gift today will help prevent more young people like Zac and Hayley from becoming homeless. 

Please donate to the Red Shield Appeal.

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Zac and Hayleys Story | End Homelessness Now | The Salvation Army

"Ethan was just 4 weeks old when they came in.   They were so excited to be in the program and saw it as a great opportunity for their new family to grow and learn new skills.

We worked with them a lot on their education plans, their living skills and personal skills as well as helping them navigate the changes in their relationship. In January 2015 they were approved for a house from the department of human services.

We know they will continue to go on and be great parents."

- Lisa, Outreach Worker

Issue: Youth Homelessness

Young people in particular are impacted by homelessness. They make up 42 per cent of the Australian homeless population. Approximately 44,000 young Australians under the age of 25 are homeless, but the actual number is probably higher.

Homelessness is traumatic, especially for children and young people just beginning to make their own way in life. It makes every day activities like attending school and getting a job, more difficult. They often experience mental and physical health problems.

Read more about youth homelessness.

Centre: Residential programs for young people

We operate a number of youth services which are integrated housing and support models for people aged 16-25 years for varying lengths of stays. These programs provide accommodation as well as independent living and life skill programs.

Young people are also supported to complete education and training and seek out employment opportunities. Some of these offer family reconciliation programs to assist young people to resolve conflicts and re-establish relationships with their families. Most of all, support is given to find long term accommodation.