RAISE AWARENESS: Mel Owen, Joel Ncholson and Starr Livett on the couch, at Headspace Bundaberg's couch surfing race to coincide with National Youth Homelessness Matters Day.
RAISE AWARENESS: Mel Owen, Joel Ncholson and Starr Livett on the couch, at Headspace Bundaberg's couch surfing race to coincide with National Youth Homelessness Matters Day. Mike Knott

Couch surfing race puts spotlight on youth homelessness

THE race to raise awareness for youth homelessness was yesterday run for the first time run in Bundy.

Headspace Bundaberg held the region's first ever couch surfing race to coincide with National Youth Homelessness Matters Day.

Event co-ordinator and community and youth engagement officer Cristel Simmonds said while this was the first time the race was held in Bundaberg, the event put the issue of youth homelessness in the spotlight.

Mrs Simmonds said couch surfing was often the first way young people experienced homelessness.

"They are moving around from house to house, where they can get accommodation at friends', or with an alternate family member for a week or two,” Mrs Simmonds said.

"They may return home for short periods, but they feel unsafe so they don't often stay there.”

She said while homelessness was not houselessness, overcrowding, poor conditions and constant moving around could be too much for young people.

The couch surfing races were a way to highlight the issues in relatable way, with local businesses Alowishus and Hit and Run providing refreshments at the event, as well as the Rapid Relief team providing free food.

There were also 13 stallholders representing homeless support services. Mrs Simmonds hopes the event will make a return next year for more teams to battle out for ultimate bragging rights.



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