Activity Introduction

paul mouldsQuick summary:  Students view a YouTube clip that explores the concept of couch surfing, and reflect on the situation faced by many young people who are experiencing homelessness. Students consider the impact of couch surfing using data collected around the issue of homelessness. Students explore the idea that couch surfing is an unstable form of accommodation and consider other, more long-term solutions to youth homelessness. Students then create an advertisement raising awareness about youth homelessness to encourage support for young people experiencing homelessness.

Key ideas to explore:

  • Negative stereotypes are sometimes attached to people experiencing homelessness.
  • A more realistic view of the problem of youth homelessness is needed in order to help address the issue.
  • There are many ways to effectively challenge and address negative stereotypes about youth homelessness.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Learning Area: Health and Physical Education

Content descriptions:

  • Critically analyse and apply health information from a range of sources to health decisions and situations (ACPPS095)
  • Plan, rehearse and evaluate options (including CPR and first aid) for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety and well being may be at short or long term risk (ACPPS091)

General capabilitiesCritical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, Literacy, Personal and Social Capability.

Syllabus OutcomesPDHPE5.2, PDHPE5.6, PDHPE5.7, PDHPE5.8, PDHPE5.12, PDHPE5.15, PDHPE5.16.

Topic: THE OASIS, Social Issues

Unit of work: THE OASIS – HPE

Time required: 60 minutes

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting websites/videos to the class and access to THE OASIS documentary on Vimeo.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: House, home, homelessness, youth, THE OASIS, community development, health, couch surfing.

Acknowledgement: This resource has been adapted from ‘Teaching Social Issues Through English’ developed with English Teachers Association NSW and the ‘Youth Homelessness Matters Resource’ developed by Janice Atkin. You can find these resources here.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

emma and destinyTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students understand the couch surfing is a form of homelessness. Students investigate youth services in their area and plan a strategy that helps to promote awareness of homelessness.

Teacher content information: This lesson is based on THE OASIS documentary, which raises awareness of youth homelessness, celebrates the resilience of young people who are experiencing homelessness in Australia and empowers the next generation of young people to take action to prevent youth homelessness in the future.

Young people often become homeless because of family breakdown, often stemming from parental conflicts or a collapse of their relationship with a husband/wife or partner. Some young people who are living independently become homeless because they can’t afford living expenses such as rent. Being homeless is unsafe, unhealthy and very stressful. Young people experiencing homelessness are not a homogeneous group. They come from a range of family

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: "We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can't solve" - Linda Lingle

Watch the following clip and complete the associated tasks below:

Couch for Rent: (

1. Note down your summary of the terms below:

Primary homelessness:

Secondary homelessness:

Tertiary homelessness:

Couch surfing:

2. As a class, brainstorm the issues that may be associated with couch surfing and summarise the class's thinking in dot points here:

3. Why do you think recording the number of homeless youth could be difficult?

4. Explain what you think is meant by the term 'invisible homeless':

5. For each of the statistics below, pose a question that you think they answer:

supported accomodation stats

e.g. for the statistic above, you may ask: "What percentage of people in supported accommodation are female?"

issues faced

people homeless on census

homeless people

type of accom

boarding houses

people who sleep rough

Now download the Homelessness in Australia infographic from the Homelessness Australia website and

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