Blacktown Couch Racing Championships shines light on hidden homelessness

A rooftop race in the rain has shone a light on the reality of homelessness.

Competitors from seven organisations took to Colo Lane car park on Friday for Blacktown Council’s inaugural Blacktown Couch Racing Championships.

The race sought to raise awareness of ‘couch surfing’, a common but less visible form of homelessness in which affected people stay with friends or family.

Marist180 case worker Josh Lennon said the agency had helped more than 700 young people in Blacktown, Mount Druitt and The Hills in the past year.

“There’s a misconception that young people choose to be homeless, but the reality is they’ve got no choice but to leave their family home and find something more suitable,” he said.

Houses to Homes transition worker Catherine Williams said the event was a good opportunity to improve understanding of homelessness and the support available. Her organisation provides transitional housing for young mothers and pregnant women.

“A large percentage of these women are escaping domestic and family violence and family relationship breakdown,” Ms Williams said. “Substance abuse and mental health are also contributing factors.”

More information and support will be available at the council’s next Homelessness Hub, from 10am-1pm on Friday, October 27 at the Sargents Centre in First Avenue, Blacktown.