Youth Homelessness

  • In Australia on any given night, there are over 44,000 young people aged under 24 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • For the 12 – 25 age group, there are 26,000 young people experiencing homelessness.
  • Someone is considered to be homeless if they are have no roof over their head (on the streets, parks, squats, etc), or have no permanent or safe place to live.
  • The most common form of homelessness for young people is couch surfing.
  • Around 40% of young people who are homeless will spend an average of five months couch surfing and the average time in any one place is just two weeks.
  • For young people the most common reasons for becoming homeless are family violence or a relationship or family breakdown. In both of these cases they can no longer live in the family home. Other pathways can be mental illness, substance use, financial difficulties or lack of affordable housing.
  • Young women have the highest rates of need from homelessness services, with one in 42 women falling into this category.
  • Young people who grow up in poverty are more likely to experience homelessness and continue the intergenerational high rates of unemployment and disadvantage.
  • Young people from refugee backgrounds are at least six times more likely to become homeless
  • Once homeless, young lesbian and gay people frequently experience both direct homophobia in the form of harassment and abuse within housing services, and indirect discrimination as their needs are ignored or neglected within services.
  • Young people who are exiting out of home care are particularly at risk, with up to 40 per cent transitioning into homelessness.

Click here to read Homelessness Australia's fact sheet on youth homelessness.