BUSINESS owners and their staff in the Coffs Harbour city centre joined youth workers yesterday to don ties for National Youth Homelessness Matters Day.
The Help Us Tie Up Youth Homelessness campaign is the brainchild of the Mid North Coast Youth Workers Forum, and youth worker Rochelle Stratford said people could continue the work of raising awareness by writing to local councillors and state and federal politicians to support the elimination of youth homelessness.
Every day about 175 young people on the Coffs Coast are without a secure roof over their heads, 80% of them “couch surfing” with friends or relatives and about 1% of them sleeping rough.
Coffs Harbour’s Youth Refuge can accommodate only eight young people and Rochelle said without family support young people found it difficult to apply for rental accommodation, especially in the tough rental market which exists on the Coffs Coast.
Younger people also have fewer sources of income support.
The Jetty Bunker Youth Service, which runs the refuge, also runs an early intervention program to link up young people with their families or help them to maintain family connections.