Homelessness on the rise

Stark figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have shown that homelessness in Australia has increased by 13.7 per cent over the past five years.

On Census Night 2016,116,427 Australians were experiencing some form of homelessness. This was the national picture:

  • homelessness in Australian women has risen 9.5 per cent over the past five years
  • 'rough sleepers' represent just seven per cent of all homelessness 
  • homelessness among young people aged 12-24 has increased by 10 per cent.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) also released recent comprehensive data on homelessness. In 2016-2017, for the first time, women presented in greater numbers than men to homelessness services. In Victoria, they now make up 63% of those seeking help, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The picture is a bleak one. One in 56 Victorians received homelessness assistance, much higher than the national rate (one in 84), and in 44% of cases, family violence was the reason. Again, depressingly, the proportion in Victoria was much higher than other states (the average was 37% across Australia). Thirteen per cent of requests for homelessness support involved children aged under 10.