Homelessness: facts and figures

The 2016/2017 data from the Australian Government's Institute of Health and Welfare revealed that family violence is the main reason women and children leave their homes in Australia and is consistently one of the most common reasons clients have sought assistance from specialist homelessness agencies.

  • Overall, 40% of clients (or 114,757) seeking Specialist Homelessness Services were experiencing domestic and family violence. This is an increase from 38% in 2015–16.
  • 61% were at risk of homelessness when they sought assistance, most commonly living in private/other housing.
  • Nearly half (48%) were single parents with a child or children.
  • Many were children: One-fifth of clients were children aged 0–9 (22%, or over 25,000), and nearly 40,000 (35%) clients were aged under 18 (a 10% increase from 2015–16 for the same age range).
  • Almost all adults were female (91%): the largest number of adult females were aged 25–34 years (over 21,000) followed by those aged 35–44 (about 19,000).
  • Half these clients (51%) had received homelessness services in the previous 5 years.
  • On average, each client received assistance twice from homelessness agencies over the 12 month period (1.9 support periods per client) for a total of 39 days.
  • 9 in 10 clients experiencing domestic and family violence who were at risk of homelessness, were assisted to maintain a housing tenancy.
  • Of those clients experiencing domestic and family violence who were homeless when support began, nearly half (47%) were assisted into housing, the majority into private/other dwellings.


(Source: Australian Government Institute of Health and Welfare)

Census data on homelessness

The rate of homelessness in Australia increased 4.6 per cent over the last five years, according to data from the 2016 Census.
More than 116,000 people were experiencing homelessness in Australia on Census night, representing 50 homeless persons for every 10,000 people. More than 49,000 women were homeless on Census night.

More information

Read about our McAuley House, a 'housing first' model of accommodation for women.