Homelessness in Australia | Homeless Youth | Youth Central

If you need housing assistance, or if you want to help people who are homeless, please check our How to get help if you are homeless page for information about contacting the relevant organisations.

On any given night in Australia more than 100,000 people are homeless. Nearly half of these people are under 25.

Definition of "homeless"

A person is defined as "homeless" when they have inadequate access to conventional shelter, particularly at night. Being homeless doesn't mean living on the streets. Many homeless people stay in temporary accommodation, for example:

  • In a squat
  • With friends
  • In a boarding-house
  • In emergency accommodation

They may also live in crisis housing or move between the houses of friends and relatives.

Some people who are homeless have a home, but their home may not be safe (for example where there's the threat of violence).

Being homeless is not just about housing. It's also about missing a stable connection to friends, family and the community.

Youth homelessness in Australia

Counting the Homeless is a 2008 report based on the 2006 census and the Youth Homelessness in Australia report. It says that:

  • Not all homeless people are older men - half of those who fit the census definition of homelessness were between 12 and 34
  • Not all homeless people live on the streets - only 16 per cent of homeless people surveyed were sleeping outside
  • Not all young homeless people are male - nationally, 44 per cent of homeless people are female
  • Youth homelessness varies a lot between states - for example, Victoria has a rate of 42 homeless people per 10,000 people compared with 248 per 10,000 people in the Northern Territory
  • Youth homelessness is decreasing - the number of homeless people between 12 and 18 dropped by 20 per cent between 2001 and 2006

Other research shows many young people become homeless because of:

  • Family or relationship trouble
  • Eviction
  • Domestic violence

For more information on youth homelessness, check out the Youth Homelessness Matters Day website.


These links provide general information about homelessness issues. For links to support organisations, see our How to get help if you are homeless page above.

Youth Homelessness Matters Day
The National Youth Coalition for Housing runs Youth Homelessness Matters Day and provides resources for homeless young people. They also offer ways you can help address youth homelessness.

Counting the Homeless
Report produced for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, based on 2006 Census data.

Youth Homelessness in Australia
Report produced for the Federal Government of Australia, based on 2006 Census data and the National Census of Homeless School Students.

Rebecca's Community offers a range of resources, from statistics and reports to personal stories, poems and images by people experiencing homelessness.

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