Talisah Noter and Keiah Smith.
Talisah Noter and Keiah Smith. Tweed Daily News

Using experience to help homeless

WHEN Talisah Noter was younger, she relied heavily on youth workers for the care and support she needed.

So it is only fitting that she now wants to become a youth worker too, so she can help other young people.

“I actually went and studied community services, and I'm doing lots of volunteering to get the experience,” the 21-year-old said.

While she is not keen to talk about her past, Ms Noter says the main thing is that she has come out on top.

“I've got a lot of life ex- perience which I want to put to good use,” she said.

“I've come out strong, so now I want to use that to help other people.”

Ms Noter was putting her experience to use yesterday by helping raise awareness of youth homelessness.

About 170 young people are homeless on the Tweed on any given night.

That was the message dem- onstrated by 170 colourful balloons at Chris Cunningham Park in Tweed Heads.

A pancake breakfast was also part of the Youth Week event.

People were invited to sign a canvas about youth homelessness, which is to be delivered to Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek.

Co-ordinator of Saint Joseph's Youth service Gerina Appo said it was important to create awareness of the issue.

“When people think about homelessness, they see the typical “hobo” out on the street,” Ms Appo said. “They don't realise that it involves young people.

“We've had families with 12 and 13-year-old children sleeping in cars. We've had mothers with two-year-olds.

“It's non-discriminatory.”

Ms Appo said there was no easy solution to the problem.

“Services need to work together; it's not about taking money off each other,” she said.

And with the economic downturn, there is every possibility the problem will get worse before it gets better, she said.

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