What does home mean to you?
That was the question posed this month at Hunter Homeless Connect Day, at the youth hub run by students of the Hunter TAFE youth workers diploma, who put on a couch surfing stories activity with ABC Open.
On Tuesday, August 7, the big day arrived. Just before sunrise, students threw up the ABC Open marquee, decked it out with a sofa, rug, cushions, a coffee table, lamp and a vase of flowers, and started inviting participants to couch surf for a while.
Our mobile lounge was ready to receive it's first guest at 8am, who took his place on the sofa, and explained what home means to him.
Hunter Homeless Connect Day is a one-stop shop for people affected by homelessness, something that touches people of all ages, for any number of reasons.
Homeless Connect Day has been happening in Newcastle for the past four years, a place where you can get a haircut, a hot meal, a massage, some warm blankets, shoes and clothing, and find out about the more than 70 services there to help.
It's also a fun day with activities, such as The Big Issue's street soccer, the Snack and Rap program, and this year, for the first time, ABC Open invited people to couch surf for a while and share a story.
The couch surfing stories idea came from the youth work students at the Hunter TAFE Institute who, led by Anthony France and Lisa Ronnenberg, co-ordinated the Youth Hub at Homeless Connect, which was there to put on the fun stuff.