With more than 300 youth in the Hastings experience some form of homelessness on any given night, take a stand and march for change on April 18.
On Youth Homelessness Awareness Day, YP Space Mid North Coast are hosting a walk across Port Macquarie raising awareness for one of the biggest issues facing our youth today.
Four groups will start from Aldi, the Racecourse, Bunnings and Windmill Hill (near Oxley Beach) and march to meet up at Kooloonbung creek before all walking towards Town Green together.
Ty Mostyn, a youth worker with YP Space said with more than 28,000 youth homeless across Australia it is not a straight forward problem to solve.
“Each year we do something to raise awareness for youth homelessness but this is the first year we will be marching across Port Macquarie,” Mr Mostyn said.
“The Youth Homelessness Awareness Day is a national campaign that is bring all youth services together to talk about youth homelessness.
“Our march will be a visible display about how many people are recognising that youth homelessness is a major problem and hopefully start conversations about what can be done to help.”
“The march will be a very visible display especially for people driving past us as we will be walking on Ocean Drive, Lake Road, the Oxley Highway, Hastings River Dive, Gordon Street and Horton Street.”
According to the latest census data, there are 116,427 homeless people in Australia, an increase from just over 102,000 in 2011 and more than 16,000 young people also experience severely overcrowded accommodation.
He said youth homelessness is called the ‘hidden problem’ and is timely given the march coincides with Youth Week.
“The Youth Homelessness Awareness Day is a national campaign that is bring all youth services together to talk about youth homelessness,” he said.
“There is a common misconception that homeless youth must have done something wrong, or if they could behave then they would have a place to stay but that is absolutely not the case.”
Katie Henson, also a youth worker at YP Space, said the population of youth without a stable house is growing quite significantly.
“Each situation is unique and young people become homeless for a range of reasons, including family conflict, violence, a lack of housing affordability, they get evicted or they run out of temporary accommodation,” Ms Henson said.
“We are seeing a dramatic rise in youth who are couch surfing who while they technically might be sleeping at someone’s house it is not at all an ideal option or situation.”
Ms Henson said that young people have significant barriers to overcome when trying to come to terms with their homelessness.
“Homeless youth have low to no income, are in a very vulnerable position dealing with leaving trauma or violence and then struggle to get suitable hosing,” she said.
“They have to deal with adult problems with little to no support which is why are are doing this march, our youth need our help,” she said.
The march will begin at 8.30am from Aldi, the Racecourse, Bunnings and Windmill Hill before ending at Town Green at midday.
To register interest please call 6584 0066.