The Salvation Army’s Oasis Youth Support Network invited the Sydney community to raise awareness about youth homelessness at Sunday’s launch of The Couch Project. The launch comprised recognisable business and entertainment personalities getting talkative about the cause on a red couch in a glass box at Customs House.
Having recently spent a night in the cold with the CEO Sleepout, Oasis advisory board member and MYOB CEO Tim Reedshowed his support:
The box and its contents will be on show until 1 August.
The Couch Project is an annual fundraising and awareness campaign that culminates on September 14, to help combat youth homelessness through raising the community’s awareness of couch surfing. Many people don’t realise it is the first step in the cycle of homelessness - over 90% of the youths at Oasis have slept on a couch.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census in November 2012 revealed 44,083 homeless young people under the age of 24 years.
Mr Reed says, “I’m supporting the Oasis Couch Project to help bring attention to the critical issue of youth homelessness. Youth homelessness is a huge issue in our community that goes unseen by many. It is important for business leaders to be a part of this because businesses can be part of the solution.
“Homelessness is much more prevalent than most Australians realise - it can happen to anyone, including your team members. When you understand this and how important employment is to a path out of homelessness you realise that every business has a role to play in addressing this critical community issue.
“I’m proud to be a member of the Oasis Advisory Board and proud to be a part of the Oasis Couch Project. Oasis is an outstanding organisation that makes a huge difference to the lives of homeless youth every day. One of the challenges with youth homelessness is that it generally goes unseen and therefore we don’t understand the challenges facing these young people. As business leaders and employers I believe it is important that we all become more aware of the challenges that some of our team members may face, whether directly or indirectly, and the role we can play in addressing this issue.”
The Couch Project launched on Youth Homelessness Matters Day in 2012, as an initiative by Oasis to raise awareness and funds for youth homelessness, specifically drawing attention to couch surfing as hidden homelessness. The campaign raised more than $35,000 in 2012, with 180 registered fundraisers.
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