Homelessness in Australia is an urgent and growing problem. On any given night, 1 in 200 people are homeless. The total number of people experiencing homelessness grew by 14 per cent between the last two censuses (2011?2016), to over 116,000 people.
Homelessness is not just rooflessness. We have seen the greatest increases in homelessness among people living in severely overcrowded dwellings; thus making homelessness increasingly hidden. Certain groups are particularly at risk of homelessness, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (3 in 100), young people (1 in 100), and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (1 in 100). While older people have a lower prevalence of homelessness (1 in 300) than the rest of the general population, alarmingly, over a decade they experienced the fastest growing rate of homelessness: 54 per cent for 55?64?year?olds and 59 per cent for 65?74?year?olds (2006?2016).
Homelessness has also differed by place. NSW had the highest growth in homelessness, over 37 per cent between 2011 and 2016. The prevalence is highest in the Northern Territory where almost 1 in 20 people were experiencing homelessness. In metropolitan areas across all states and territories, except the ACT, homelessness has increased above national averages. This is largely a reflection of rising housing prices. Rural homelessness has also increased in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, and the ACT – well above national increases.
The key drivers of homelessness include domestic violence, the high costs of housing, the inadequacy and inappropriateness of existing housing stock, and the discharge of people from institutions who do not have safe, stable, affordable homes to go to.
SOURCE: Muir K, Martin C, Liu E, Kaleveld L, Flatau P, Etuk L, Pawson H. “Amplify Insights: Housing Affordability and Homelessness.” PwC, 2018.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia