Hannah Stead knows better than most the hardships that face young people who have nowhere to go.
Hannah, 17, had her first taste of homelessness at 13 and has spent the past four years couch-surfing at friends’ houses or on the streets.
Hannah’s story isn’t unique, according to Darren McGee, manager of Youth Outreach Service (YOS), with youth homelessness an issue in Pine Rivers and greater Brisbane.
To raise awareness and funds, they are asking people to walk a mile in the shoes of young people such as Hannah and join the Salvation Army’s Couch Project.
“Youth homelessness is a hidden issue. When people think of homelessness they usually think of the old guys sleeping on the streets,” Mr McGee said.
“Well that’s not the facts, about 40 per cent of the homeless are young people sleeping on couches, so it is hidden homelessness.
“We are challenging people to sleep on the couch for a night on Saturday, do some fundraising and sleep like these young people who are couch-surfing.’’
It will help people going down the same route as Hannah.
“I stayed in about five or six different places over about two months and ran out of money and people started not wanting me on the couch anymore,” she said.
“My stuff was everywhere. I had nowhere to put it, I was eating their food, using their laundry and showering.
“They were getting over having me there.
“Sometimes I would just go spend a night on the streets because I felt guilty asking if I could just stay one more night.”
The Couch Project will raise funds and help the Salvation Army’s work helping young people.