Students offered safe place to study
News and events · 13th April 2023

Students offered safe place to study

Josh* was only 17 years old when he moved out of the family home.

“It wasn’t safe,” he says.

“I was couch surfing for a while but it was getting more and more difficult to find a place.

“Rather than focusing on school, it was like: ‘Where am I going to stay.’”

In April 2022, Josh’s school contacted Samaritans Student Accommodation. The program caters for 16 to 25-year-olds who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and still wanting to complete their educational goals, such as the Higher School Certificate (HSC), an apprenticeship, or university studies.

Josh is grateful for the program’s support.

“It provided security. I’m quite a driven person but trying to work and do my HSC, as well as cadets, was very hard,” he says.

“So, not having to worry about where to live took a lot of stress off.

“The accommodation in Wickham also made it easy to get to school and other parts of Newcastle, especially with public transport.”

Samaritans Student Accommodation aims to offer a safe, stable, and secure living environment.

Apart from the convenient location, it also provides cheap rent, ongoing support from a case worker, 24/7 security cameras, and free weekly deliveries from food rescue charity OzHarvest.

The program receives no government funding and relies heavily on an annual fundraiser, the Bean Counters Ball. Since its inception in 2011, the ball has raised more than $250,000 for its charity partners – Samaritans and Hunter TAFE Foundation.

Samaritans Student Accommodation Acting Coordinator Matthew Anderson

Samaritans Student Accommodation Acting Coordinator Matthew Anderson (pictured above) says this year’s event, which will take place on 27 May, is an opportunity to support young people like Josh.

“This program can be a sound base for you to achieve what you want,” he says.

“In Josh’s case, he made the best of it. He was able to escape a relationship breakdown and domestic abuse.

“Where do you go when you’ve got those [educational] aspirations? He didn’t have a lot of money and, when you don’t have that support from your family, it can be pretty difficult.”

*Surname withheld for privacy reasons.