Once homeless rappers tour NSW for Salvos campaign
Two young rappers are using their past experiences of living on the streets to raise awareness and funds for The Salvation Army’s annual youth homelessness campaign, The Couch Project.
Hip hop artists Owen and Dwaine (pictured) kicked off a two-week tour of secondary schools in NSW last week to teach students about the more than 44,000 young Australians who are homeless.
Titled Streets to Stage, the tour sees Owen and Dwaine perform and share stories of their past, with DJ/producer Micha Walter. Dwaine was left grief-stricken after the unexpected death of several family members. After falling behind at school he was kicked out of home.
“What we once tried to clutch to, to feel better were the wrong things; like drugs and alcohol,” said Dwaine. “But we found music a much better outlet to express ourselves and a release.”
Dwaine & Owen
Owen’s continual family problems and drug use in the home was documented for award-winning documentary film The Oasis. The film was aired on ABC on Youth Homelessness Matters Day in April 2008 to an audience of 1.3 million viewers.
“I’m a living testimony that there is hope and that you don’t need to be stuck in a cycle of homelessness or hardship,” said Owen.
The Streets to Stage tour has seen the pair educate over 10,000 students on how they can help prevent homelessness by supporting a friend or accessing support for themselves.
Dwaine and Owen hope to inspire students to help raise vital funds and awareness by participating in The Couch Project on September 16. The annual initiative encourages people to give up their couch or bed, host a sleepover, or sleep on couches to understand how ‘couch surfing’ is often the first stage of homelessness.In fact, over 80% of young people who are considered homeless are couch surfing.
The Streets to Stage tour finishes up on Friday in the middle of Homelessness Prevention Week.
“If it wasn’t for the Salvos, I’d probably still be on the streets, in jail or dead,” said Owen.
Next Tuesday (August 9) is Census night where the number of Australians experiencing homelessness will be re-counted.
Watch Owen’s music video for his track You Can’t See Me Now, featuring Moe.
- The Couch Project is The Salvation Army’s response to youth homelessness. There are more than 44,000 homeless young people under the age of 25 and only 3% are sleeping “rough” (on the street, in tents or improvised dwellings)
- Streets to Stage will tour from the 25th of July to the 5th of August at various Secondary Schools across NSW
- 1-7 August is Homelessness Prevention Week and the 9th of August is Census night where the number of Australians experiencing homelessness will be re-counted