The Couch Project, on now, is raising awareness of youth homelessness. Pictured is Salvation Army Maryborough corps officer Lieutenant Adele Williams with Chelsea Lydall and (back-L) Shannon Stewart, Daniel Birch and Brodie Stewart.
The Couch Project, on now, is raising awareness of youth homelessness. Pictured is Salvation Army Maryborough corps officer Lieutenant Adele Williams with Chelsea Lydall and (back-L) Shannon Stewart, Daniel Birch and Brodie Stewart. Alistair Brightman

Youth homelessness is inivisible issue but real on Coast

JUST because not many of our homeless people are seen roaming Fraser Coast's streets, does not mean they don't exist.

Couch surfing at friends' houses and sleeping in cars is how most homeless youth survive, Maryborough Salvos corps officer Lieutenant Adele Williams explained.

"Most youth homelessness occurs in a friend's spare room or on the couch," she said.

"They're classed as homeless because they don't have a permanent residence.

"Only 3% of youth homelessness happens on the streets."

Domestic violence is the primary cause for displacement of youth.

"If they don't feel safe going home, they will sleep somewhere else," Lieut Williams said.

"A sleepover is not a sleepover if you're there every night."

The number of homeless people on the Fraser Coast is unknown, though that could change after the upcoming Census.

"They can come to the centre and get a Census form," Lieut Williams said.

"The more we know about them, then we can help them out and look at what services are required in the area."

A form can be collected from the Salvation Army Church in Maryborough at 100 Bazaar St, or the one in Hervey Bay at 11 Robertson St.

Nationwide, there are about 105,000 homeless people including 42% who are aged under 25.

To raise awareness of youth homelessness, the Salvation Army invites Fraser Coast residents to participate in the Couch Project.

The initiative asks people to spend a night on their couch and raise money to help the Salvos' Youth Services.

People of all ages can take part at any time between August and October through individual fundraising efforts.

The official sleepover date to sleep on the couch is September 16.

Find out more at thecouchproject.com.au.


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