Couch-surfing for a cause

A GROUP of Derwent Valley young people is holding an overnight couch-sleeping event in New Norfolk tonight (Wednesday) in observance of Youth Homelessness Matters Day. “This is a national day that aims to raise awareness and public discussion about child and youth homelessness,” said Matt Hill, the facilitator for the Derwent Valley Youth Future Action Team (D’FAT).

“D’FAT is supporting YHMD by holding an overnight couch sleeping event at The Salvation Army Derwent Valley,” Matt said. “Couch surfing is classed as a secondary form of homelessness. Almost 40,000 young people aged 15–24 years presented alone to a homelessness service in 2021–22,” he said.

The participants at The Salvation Army sleepout have been discussing the issue of homelessness and the services available to support people who are “sleeping rough” (living on the streets) or “couch-surfing” (temporarily sleeping on people’s couches or floors, moving from house to house).

They have also been watching the SBS-TV documentary series Filthy Rich and Homeless, which follows the progress of five well-off Australians who agree to swap their affluent lives to stay among poverty. They hand in their phones, identification and money. As this unfolds, a panel of experts discuss homelessness in Australia, looking at the poverty line.

Picture: D’FAT members Sydney Excell, left, Lincoln Rubenach and Oskar Millier at the sleepout for Youth Homelessness Matters Day.

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