The Whyalla Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) received a welcome, and warm, donation this week to pass on to the community.
Aware of an acute lack of housing and shelter for youth in need in our town, Whyalla local Larry Higgins pounced on an opportunity presented to him recently.
When a friend from Port Lincoln asked him if he had a use for 10 hardy, outdoor swags, he immediately thought of YAC.
Larry is an Aboriginal Cultural Consultant for Whyalla Partnerships and is also actively engaged in working with youth in his own time.
Peter Williams runs the Williams Boxing Gym in Port Lincoln and recently, through his work with youth, applied for a grant for these swags and received 80 of them.
While visiting his gym, Larry saw ten of them were left over and asked what was going to happen to them.
“He said they were swags that were left over and asked ‘do you want them?’,” Larry said.
“I said ‘you betcha’, we’ll bring them to Whyalla, we’ve got kids who are disengaged and sleeping all over the place.”
Council Youth Development Officer and YAC co-ordinator Gail Rostig was on hand to accept the swags and thanked Larry for thinking of YAC and Whyalla’s youth.
“Homelessness is an unseen problem in Whyalla, often it’s just kids couch surfing,” Gail said.
“It’s not a real visible thing but there are still kids sleeping out rough.
“Larry rang me and said he heard we were working with youth and would we like these swags.
“We said ‘absolutely’ and we (YAC) can make sure they get to the right people.”
Both Larry and Gail explained the swags were not a permanent solution and there needed to be more work on providing more permanent housing for youth who find themselves homeless for whatever reason.
Anyone in need of one of these swags for emergency bedding can contact Gail on 8640 3444.
The YAC program provides an opportunity for young people to share their views and work together to develop solutions to issues which affect their communities.