What is homelessness?
The definition of homelessness is broken down into 3 groups:
- Primary homelessness - is experienced by people without conventional accommodation (e.g. sleeping rough or in improvised dwellings).
- Secondary homelessness - is experienced by people who frequently move from one temporary shelter to another (e.g. emergency accommodation, youth refuges, and “couch surfing").
- Tertiary homelessness - is experienced by people staying in accommodation that falls below minimum community standards (e.g. boarding housing and caravan parks).
Couch surfing is defined as temporarily staying with friends, relatives, family and sometimes with complete strangers. You don’t have to be houseless to be homeless.
How many people are homeless in Australia and who are they?
- On any given night in Australia 105,000 people are homeless and nearly half of these people are under the age of 25.
- The majority of young people who are experiencing homelessness fall under the category of secondary homelessness as they are often couch surfing. This is also referred to as ‘hidden homelessness.'
- Young people from refugee backgrounds are 6-10 times more likely to be at risk of homelessness than Australian born young people.
- Females, aged 12 to 18, experiencing homelessness, outnumber males in the same age group. 56% of homeless young people between the age of 12 to 18 are female, 44% are male.