Ben's Longest Night

2016 Tax Image Ben 600x150

June 21st marks the Longest Night of the year.  A night where thousands of young people in Australia will sleep on the streets in the cold.  

For some young people finding a safe place to sleep during winter is nearly impossible.  Young people like 16 year old Ben.  At times, Ben’s only option has been to seek shelter in an abandoned building or under a bridge with no protection from the weather… or other people.

It’s situations like this that makes your support so critical. Please give today so we can protect young people like Ben, when they are forced onto the streets.

Ben first reached out for help after living in abandoned buildings and on friends’ couches for over 6 months. The violence in his own home had reached such climatic levels, that Ben did his best to avoid being near his father’s fists.  In school he reacted to conflict and challenges with an explosive temper and violent outbursts - a trait that he learnt from his father and which soon led to his expulsion from school.   Ben couldn’t return home.

When you're living on the streets, every night brings a new challenge. Will someone let you stay on their couch?  Will you be forced to sleep on the streets?  Or in an abandoned building with drug users and hardened criminals?

A gleaming light of hope came to Ben by way of Open Family Australia’s NOSH outreach service.   NOSH, our ‘Nutrition Outreach Support and Health’ program connects homeless and disadvantaged young people with services they desperately need.  

In NOSH, Ben found his one chance for help.


Through tears, Ben shared his story with the NOSH outreach team.  He explained how his behaviour, traits he had learnt from a temperamental father, had left him out of school and on the streets.

On June 21st, the longest night of the year, in every city, every town and every state, there won’t be only one or two young people sleeping rough there will be thousands.  Sleeping under bridges, in parks, on someone’s couch or walking the streets alone trying to keep warm through the long dark hours.  

Your support will help these young people get off the streets.  Your gift will provide the practical and emotional support that these young people  so desparately need.  Please donate today so they can find a safe warm place to live, with a hot meal, some consistency and stability in their lives and a chance for a better future.

The impact of trauma on a young person can greatly affect their developmental milestones.  This was clear in Ben’s case.  Experiences such as traumatic home lives, abuse and neglect, is a strong predictor for difficulties in adult life.  The outreach workers were able to understand Ben’s behaviour and characteristics as a product of his history, including significant family violence, and provide the best support possible to create positive outcomes for Ben.

Open Family Australia connected Ben immediately with crisis accommodation and then a long term housing option.  Once Ben was in stable accommodation, our outreach workers were able to work with Ben to identify his personal goals which included a return to education. By the conclusion of Ben’s support period, he was in stable and safe accommodation, had secured a place in an education institution, was actively applying for part-time work and was engaging regularly in counselling services.

This is the difference that your gift can make.  Please give right now or call us directly on 1300 669 600.

Any support that you can offer today will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

With my best wishes,

Mark Watt

Contact Us

Open Family Australia
155 Roden Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003
T. 1300 669 600