Know your stuff

Talking Numbers…


On any given night, over  116,000 people will be homeless in Australia. That is a 14% increase over the last 5 years.


Australians are assisted by homelessness services each year, but an additional 154,000 requests are turned away

How many?

Despite popular belief, children are one of the largest groups of Australians experiencing homelessness.

In fact, children under the age of 18 make up 23% of people experiencing homelessness (over 25,000 people).

But why?

30% of children who are experiencing homelessness have left home due to family or domestic violence.

Children are almost always in a family group, most likely with a single mother.


Where are they?

44% of the homeless population (51,088 people) end up in severely overcrowded dwellings (e.g. 14 people living in a three bedroom home).

Over a quarter of this number are under the age of 19.

But what is homelessness?

Homelessness in Australia is often referred to as a three layered situation.

Primary homelessness is the term applied to those without conventional accommodation – this could mean sleeping rough or living in a car.

Secondary homelessness is when people move frequently from one place to another, such as with couch-surfing or staying in a refuge.

Tertiary homelessness is when people have accommodation but it is considered unstable, such as living in a caravan park or rooming house.

When my Mum and Dad broke up things were hard.

Mum and I fought alot, so I went to stay with Dad. It wasn’t long until Dad and I started fighting too. They gave me the choice of behaving or leaving. So I left.

I stayed at my friends houses, moving constantly. Every morning I would wake up not knowing where I’d sleep that night. Eventually, I lost contact with my friends. I was all alone.

It was hard to go to school. I never had the right books, my stuff was everywhere. Each day felt like a fight for survival. One day, someone told me about this homelessness service that helped teenagers, like me.

They gave me somewhere safe to sleep. For the first time I wasn’t scared that I would have to sleep on the street that night. They helped me get back to school and catch up on what I’d missed. Mum and I talk now, things are getting better.

I’m in year 12 this year and next year I want to go to uni to study social work – so I can help teenagers like me.

Briana, 17
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The impact of homelessness

Homelessness doesn’t discriminate. Men and women, elderly and children, employed and unemployed, families and individuals can all find themselves experiencing homelessness. Someone you know could be homeless.

For a child, homelessness means missing out on many of the things that other kids take for granted (for example having the opportunity to have a friend over to your house after school is impossible if you don’t have one). Although many children experiencing homelessness still go to school, homelessness may mean missing out on school excursions and new uniforms. It can become increasingly difficult to stay engaged in education.

Homelessness also increases the likelihood of physical and mental illness and disconnects children from their family and community.

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Mum and Dad fought a lot.

One night, it was really bad, the police came. Mum woke me up and we left and stayed in a hotel that night.

Mum and Dad broke up. Mum and I moved house. I had to change schools. I had to leave my dog.

We didn’t have enough money to buy school uniforms, or go on any excursions.

Mum was sad. That made me sad.

We had to move out of our house and moved into a homelessness shelter.

They helped buy school uniforms, and new books and pencils. They helped us buy a desk so I could do my homework.

They even helped Mum find a job. Now we have our own house.
Mum is happy. That makes me happy.

Ethan, 9

I want to help, what can I do?

By signing up for Hangout for the Homeless and spreading the word, you are becoming a changemaker.

You are becoming part of the solution.

You are making a difference.

The above information was sourced from Homelessness Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016 Census