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Couch Surfing for Youth Homelessness Matters Day

While many of us are lucky enough to have a safe bed to sleep in each night, that’s not the case for thousands of Territorians aged 12-24.

By  Tamara Howie

The annual Youth Week couch surfing event, organised by Anglicare NT, is more than just a chance to race couches at Civic Park. It plays an important role in highlighting the realities for the young people who find themselves sleeping rough or without stable accommodation. 

Anglicare NT asked one of their clients to share their personal experience of youth homelessness with us to help us see the bigger picture.

Tell us a bit about your life and your experience of homelessness.

I have been homeless off and on since the age of 14. I have lived around most of Australia with my mother.

We moved around a lot so it was difficult starting a new school every month or two.Eventually we settled in Cairns for two years. This is where I finished school with my brother.

After I graduated my mother left to be with her boyfriend as they have a kid together. As I had finished school I came back to the Territory to seek a home for me and my younger brother.

What do you wish more people knew about homelessness?

I wish people knew that not just poor people or indigenous people can suffer from homelessness.

What have been the challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome them?

A challenge I faced was living in so many different places, this instability made it difficult to be settled. It has been a lot more settled since I gained employment.

What do you think about the  annual couch surfing event?

I think it’s grand. I hope enough young people attend to raise awareness for homeless young people.  

How has Anglicare helped you?

Anglicare helped me and my  younger brother get accommodation. We are now living in their transitional accommodation units, with the goal of eventually moving into our own accommodation.

What do you hope for in the future?

I hope for peace, stability and a good career that will assist my family.

The Facts

•    The NT has 12 times the average national rate of homelessness
•    27,683 young Australians aged 12-24 years are homeless
•    3,546 of these young people are in the NT
•    49% of homeless people in the NT are under 25 years of age
•    Most homeless people in the NT are Indigenous
•    The Territory has only 1% of the youth population of Australia but represents 13% of the nation’s homeless youth population

Couch Surfing for Youth Homelessness Matters Day Wed 17 Apr | 10am - 2pm | Civic Park, Darwin | Free | anglicare-nt.org.au

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