Port Macquarie breakfast radio announcer Jason 'Bodge' Bodger has been named as the Port Macquarie-Hastings Homelessness Committee ambassador.
The local media personality will be spreading the message that 'everybody deserves a home' during the awareness and activity week from Sunday, August 2 to Saturday, August 8.
Bodge will be drawing on his own personal experiences as a teenager where he spent a year homeless because of family instability.
"When I was 16 years old my mum and dad (step-dad) were going through a divorce. They had been separated for a long time and it just wasn't working at home," he said.
"It was just a hard place to live and I was kicked out multiple times.
"The first time I became homeless I couldn't believe it. I'd been kicked out before and I thought I was kicked out for a few hours again. I was thinking they'll let me in for dinner later but it just didn't happen."
Bodge began living near the creek behind his mother's house in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. His only comfort was being handed sandwiches over the family's back fence by his sister.
I didn't really want to bump into anyone I knew. There was a shame attached to it.Jason 'Bodge' Bodger
"I was on the streets for about a month, which was a hard month. Finding food was easy because I worked at Donut King at the time and I knew where they threw the donuts out," he said.
"I was trying to go to school but that was hard.
"I lost a lot of weight and I'd walk the distance from Port Macquarie to Kempsey in a day because I had nothing else to do.
"I didn't really want to bump into anyone I knew. I found it harder to talk to people I knew because there was a shame attached to it."
The family rental contract ended and they moved to another house about 30 minutes drive away. Without him.
"I remember seeing mum's Maroon EL Falcon drive off for the last time and I knew roughly where they were going, but I knew I was never going to make it there on foot," Bodge said.
"It got to the point where I was wandering and one of my friends spotted me while he was standing on his front lawn. He said "word is around school you're homeless".
"I felt uncomfortable taking any kindness but in the end his mum let me in the door and I stayed there for a few months until I was 17."
On his 17th birthday Bodge's mum returned to collect him from where he was staying. He rejoined the family for his last year of school before being made homeless again in an entirely different suburb.
"The second and final time I was kicked out, I was more prepared and I was lucky that where I ended up was where I stayed for the next year on my friend's bedroom floor. They made me part of the family and ultimately helped me build some kind of a life.
"They were incredibly kind to me and I know damn well that I'll never be able to repay their kindness. Eventually I worked my way out into my own place and started to build a life for myself.
"To this day I remember the hardest thing about being homeless wasn't finding somewhere to stay, it wasn't finding food. It was staying clean because I had to pretend I wasn't washing at bathrooms or washrooms.
"You can't go for a job interview or see someone while you're stinking. I also didn't have a fixed address so I couldn't get Centrelink or apply for anything."
Port Macquarie residents can join the Surf @ Home Campaign during Homelessness Week to see how many nights they can sleep on the couch.
The campaign will raise money for lockers for people living without a home in town. The campaign has so far raised more than $1790.
The week is run by Lifeline Mid Coast NSW and the Port Macquarie-Hastings Homelessness Awareness Committee.
Bodge said he hopes accepting the role as homelessness ambassador can help share advice from his own experiences and benefit the community.
"I was asked to consider it and to be honest I wanted to turn it down because I wasn't sure I'd do it justice," he said.
"In my case I think there was a vulnerability to asking for help and being turned down. I felt I couldn't risk losing or being embarrassed.
"To stop being homeless you need to trust someone else to help you and you repay that trust by taking any opportunity for work. You have to work hard because there are very few shots at finding people in your life who are kind enough to take you in.
"Becoming self sufficient and finding the drive to dig out of that situation is tough for anyone but I knew I had to repay the trust that was placed on me.
"It's a hard topic to talk about for me. Being homeless was the worst thing to happen to me for obvious reasons, but it was also the best because it gave me perspective that I've taken into adulthood. I'm grateful for that."