Homelessness in Australia
Who Experiences Homelessness?
Homelessness impacts more men than women, and it impacts them differently. Domestic violence is the number one cause of homelessness for women, while men are more likely to experience chronic homelessness. Women often have young children — and nearly half of all homeless are under the age of 25. A disproportionate number are indigenous, or born overseas. Facing barriers to things like employment and private rental, or lacking in strong social support networks place people at a higher risk of homelessness. This is why specialised community supports are a vital part of addressing the issue.
115,000 people are homeless
59% are male and 41% female
60% of those affected are under 35
20% are indigenous & 46% are born overseas
Where Do People Stay?
Although rough sleeping is a growing issue across Australian communities, the most common way that people experience homelessness is ‘severely overcrowded’ dwellings, and moving around between other kinds of insecure accommodation. This journey is often unsafe, and creates new risks for the health and wellbeing of those effected.
7% are rough sleeping, often for a short time
15% are boarding and couch surfing
18% are in supported accommodation
44% are in overcrowded dwellings
What Leads to People Becoming Homeless?
Homelessness is complex, with each person having a different journey. Homelessness is often the end point to a series of life events, and the people who are homeless are not who you may think.
Domestic violence and a the lack of affordable housing are the single largest contributors to homelessness. Other contributors include poor mental health, family breakdown, debt, poverty, leaving state care, or leaving prison.
13% suffer from mental illness
14% sudden loss of employment
34% escaping domestic violence
54% unable to afford housing
What StreetSmart is Doing to Help
We fundraise and support grassroots projects that tackle homelessness. These smaller organisations provide vital frontline services, but struggle with a lack of resources. In close collaboration with the sector, we raise funds to support the development of innovative projects, and seek to address gaps in funding.
Because homelessness is complex, we support a range of services – from people in crisis, supporting people into housing, and seed-funding good ideas that help create pathways out of homelessness. Community organisations are an important part of our social safety net, and in collaboration with individuals, business and corporate partners our mission is to lend a helping hand.
Our Community Impact
There are lots of specialist organisations that work to end homelessness, and assist our understanding of how to end it. The facts and figures you find on the StreetSmart website are compiled from these key sources.
Homelessness in the news – latest articles and reports
Homelessness Australia is the national peak body for homelessness in Australia.
The Australia Institute of Health and Welfare publish reports and data on homelessness services in Australia.
The Council to Homeless Persons is the peak body representing organisations and individuals in Victoria.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates homelessness in its Census of Population and Housing. 2016 Census data will be available in 2018.
Without a Home ABC Fact Check and RMIT University Social and Global Studies Centre
Homelessness is a Human Rights Issue (2008) Australian Human Rights Commission
Asking for Change – Justice Connect, 17 Oct 2016
Making Social Housing Work – Council of Homeless Persons, March 2014
Lifetime and intergenerational experiences of homelessness in Australia – Australian Policy Online, 27 Feb 2013
Addressing Housing Affordability In Australia – Australian for Affordable Housing, September 2011
Poverty and its Causes – ACOSS Oct 2011
ROUGH LIVING Surviving Violence & Homelessness – UTSePress 2010
Federal Government White Paper – The Road Home – White Paper 2008