A new ‘selfie’ campaign aims to raise awareness of ‘sofa surfing’ – the hidden homelessness that exists in Ards and North Down.
While homelessness is often associated with sleeping rough, sofa surfing, whereby people move from one sofa or floor to the next, staying with family or friends for short periods of time is a growing phenomenon. One in five British young people, aged 16 to 25, have sofa surfed in the past year because they had nowhere else to go.
Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Deborah Girvan, said: “Sofa surfing is a phenomenon that has grown largely unnoticed. Whereas homelessness is visible, by its very nature sofa surfing goes on behind closed doors. But in Ards and North Down, many young people have no home and are moving from couch to couch just to keep themselves off the street.”
The initiative, which is being led by Ards and North Down Borough Council, Ards and North Down YMCA and the NI Housing Executive, asks you to take a sofa selfie and upload it to social media to help raise awareness of hidden homelessness #soafaselfie #HAWareness16.
You can take a selfie at the following venues until Thursday 8 December 2016:
· Restore, 142 Frances Street, Newtownards
· The Link, 7 regent Street, Newtownards
· South Eastern Regional College, Newtownards
· Action Cancer, Market Street, Bangor
· Assisi. 59 Main Street, Bangor
· Assisi, 63 High Street, Bangor
· Elim Relief Association, Flagship Centre, Bangor
· South Eastern Regional College, Bangor
· Abaana, 78 High Street, Bangor