Monday, 20 November 2017 16:05

2nd Annual "Couches Don't Count" rally to help homeless youths Featured

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BANGOR - While the holidays are an exciting time for many be with loved ones, some people are left looking for their next place to sleep. Those at Shaw House are holding their 2nd Annual "Couches Don't Count" rally this weekend to raise awareness about youths doing whatever is necessary for temporary housing.

"12 percent of school aged people experience homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless. That's across the entire state," said Dan Fleming, the program manager for Shaw House. 


And many of them don't know where they'll be sleeping the next day.


"Housing and urban development basically states if you are couch surfing, you are not considered homeless and if you're not considered homeless, you don't get access to a lot of mainstream services," said Fleming. 


Those at the Shaw House are looking to assist youths by providing them with not only a place to sleep, but with resources to be successful.


"There are so many services and they are always trying their best to get you back on track," said Travis Mason, a former resident. 


Travis Mason found himself in a difficult situation: couch surf or live on the streets. This was after his mother died from cancer and his landlord sold the building he was living in.


"I went from numerous places of people I didn't know," said Mason. "I saw the environment and how unsafe it could be."


But after utilizing the Shaw House's services, he was able to rebuild his life and is now working and living on his own.


"If you go through it and you try and you cooperate, you just do everything you need to do, you can get out of it," said Mason.


According to those at the Shaw House, they've seen many lives change for the better. Some youths are even attending college and making a stable income.


"It's just amazing to be able to help somebody who is down on their luck," said Nate Coe, the outreach program manager. 


But while the shelter has a place for youths to sleep and eat, close to 60 percent continue to couch surf.


"Go to a shelter," said Mason. "Please if you can, go to a shelter."


The "Couch Don't Count" rally will take place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at West Market Square. Those that donate will receive discounts to different businesses downtown.

Jack Hilton

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Jack Hilton joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 in March of 2016. He was born in Montreal, Canada but was raised in the sunshine state, Fort Lauderdale before graduating cum laude from Husson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.

Born in a famous boxing family, Jack set off toward a different career path, after the mysterious death of his uncle, Arturo Gatti, who is in the Boxing Hall of Fame.

With a heart for people, he is always looking to meet and tell the stories of those in the community. He is charismatic, funny and down to earth.

When not on the air, he enjoys spending time with his lovely wife, his parrots and attending church. He's also a huge fan of TV series such as Buffy, Friends and The Office.

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