Tackling the big problem of youth homelessness

Youth homelessness the worst in the country

Last week was the annual Couch Surfing Day. It’s an awesome day where teams of deadly young people race their couches around Civic Park in Darwin. What isn’t so awesome is that on any given night thousands of young people in the NT don’t know where they are going to sleep. Youth homelessness is an often forgotten social issue in the NT, and Couch Surfing Day aims to make some noise about how much this problem is affecting NT youth.

Anglicare shining light on this serious issue for 10 years 

For 10 years now Anglicare have brought together youth support programs and organisations and young people to race couches and learn about what they can do if they become homeless. The NT has the highest rate of youth homelessness in Australia so there is a lot of work to be done.

Larrakia Nation director James Parfitt was invited to talk to the 500 strong audience and said that getting into hard times and needing help is normal and happens to everyone. He said it is so important that young people feel ok about asking for help and knowing where to reach out to when in trouble.

Now to the teams

Larrakia Nation teamed up with YMCA and Grow Well Live Well again this year to create two teams called the PYC Tribal Warriors. There was a boys and a girls team which was great, because last year there was only a boys team (which won btw!).

No wins this year, but for Kay Villaflor who coordinates Larrakia Nation Family and Cultural Centre, and is a keen advocate of the importance of collaboration for youth services in Palmerston, being a part of day is really important. Couch Surfing Day is something she and her team have been involved in for many years and knows all too well the extent of homelessness in and around Palmerston.

Buslink supported 

As part of their Respect Your Driver campaign, Buslink picked the PRC Tribal Warrior teams up in Palmerston and dropped them off at Civic Park and took them back again. Community Engagement Manager for Buslink Colin Majid explained that having a good relationship with youth is vital to creating a culture of respecting bus drivers. Larrakia Nation works closely with Buslink so their help and support are always welcome.