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Media release –

Shedding some light on youth homelessness

6 April 2011 | CO/10

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the National Youth Coalition for Housing (NYCH) have joined forces to shed some light on youth homelessness.

To coincide with Youth Homelessness Matters Day the NYCH is encouraging young people who may be experiencing homelessness to participate in the 2011 Census in August.

Chair of the NYCH, Maria Leebeek says the theme of Youth Homelessness Matters Day is Hide and Seek - the hidden nature of youth homelessness.

“The theme highlights that many young people who are homeless are couch surfing in friends’ homes and not sleeping rough,” Ms Leebeek says.

Couch surfers are people who are living in temporary accommodation or temporarily staying on a friend’s or family member’s lounge.

“By capturing where young people are couch surfing in the Census, we are then able to dedicate resources to support these young people and stop the potential slide into chronic homelessness,” Ms Leebeek adds.

It is important that couch surfers complete the Census and mark ‘none’ as their usual place of residence when completing the Census.

Paul Lowe, Head of the Census Program says the support of homeless service providers such as NYCH is critical to the success of the Census.

“The Census gives government, decision makers and community organisations a snapshot of Australia, including the number of couch surfers and people sleeping rough,” Mr Lowe says.

Mr Lowe is calling on community minded people to work as a Collector on the 2011 Census.

“Being a Collector is a fantastic opportunity to help your neighbourhood while earning some extra money,” Mr Lowe adds.

Census Collectors can earn between $1,300 and $2,800 for the casual position and will be employed from 1 July until 8 September.

Applicant information kits are available online at www.abs.gov.au/census or call 1800 420 182.

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