Homelessness happens to different people in different ways, but the stigma of being “homeless” means many homeless people see their situation in other terms:
- A middle-aged woman, divorced and no longer able to maintain mortgage payments on a reduced income, may end up “staying with friends…. just for now”:
- In escaping an unsafe home, a young person will “couch surf”, going from one house to another, too young to share a lease.
- A single man may be “just passing through” while camping in a bush reserve or National Park.
- A single mother may be “sleeping in the van”, with her children, “in between rentals” that have become too expensive.
Australia-wide statistically only 7% of homeless people “sleep rough”*, which means the homelessness we see is only the tip of the iceberg and the vast majority goes unseen. National research suggests that 30% of Australians are just six paydays away from homelessness**.
Young people and children make up nearly half (44%) of all people who seek help from homelessness services**. Of these, 50% go on to experience later episodes of homelessness, indicating that Family Violence propels a significant proportion of children and young people on that path for a long time.
People can become homeless because they are ill, physically or mentally, and homelessness can further damage their health.
*Australian Bureau of Statistics Census, 2016
** Mission Australia, 2017
***WESTIR, 2020: Redesigning the System to Reduce Youth Homelessness.