ROSE Witney spent about six months last year couch surfing from one friend’s home to another.
Nanjing Night Net

The 19-year-old now rents a unit and wants to help address homelessness in Warrnambool.

Together with her dad, Ricky Witney, Tarren Spinks and Jai Whitehead, a group of volunteers called Evolution 1 has been born.

Ms Witney said couch surfing staying temporarily with friends, perhaps for only one night was something a lot of her friends had experienced because of the difficulty in getting rental accommodation.

“It sucked. You find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure if you can stay the night,” she said.

“You don’t want to overstay your welcome at people’s houses. You do what you can to pay them.

“I applied for a lot of places but it wasn’t until my parents went guarantor and that’s probably the only reason I got this place.”

Ms Witney said when she approached local organisations for help she found her situation was not a high enough priority.

“I wasn’t a mother with children needing somewhere to stay and I could sleep on someone’s couch,” she said.

“I had somewhere to crash so they could let me go again for another night.”

Evolution 1 has been meeting since August last year and is still in its infancy. It has brought a caravan which could eventually be used for transitional housing.

Mr Witney is the group’s chairman. He said its members want to learn what role they can play and will attend a homelessness forum on Thursday night.

“I’ve had kids couch surf at my place,” he said.

“The idea came about through what we’ve seen. We want to do up this caravan and hopefully it can be used for transitional housing. It’s to get them off the street.

“We’ve got a bus we want to do up and it can be used to get people to work or appointments. We’re going to start applying for grants. We want to learn from others at the forum.

“Our charter is to assist people in the community to lead better lives.

“This isn’t about a free ride. We want to help them help themselves.

“We can’t change the world but we can do our little bit.

“There is hope for plenty of other kids out there.”

The forum starts at 6pm at the Archie Graham Community Centre in Timor Street and will include a panel comprising members of state, regional and local welfare organisations.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.