Learn more about homelessness

No one should be homeless. Housing is a human right, not a privilege. 

Homelessness is traumatic, dangerous and isolating. It has a devastating impact on someone’s physical and mental health, and how they participate in society.

People experience homelessness for many different reasons, but some of the main causes are a lack of affordable housing, family and domestic violence, poverty and unemployment.

What is homelessness?

In Australia, homelessness is defined by the experience of being without access to sustainable, safe, permanent, or appropriate housing.

Most commonly, people understand homelessness to be rough sleeping or street homelessness but this only represents 7% of all homelessness in Australia.  

The vast majority of homelessness is hidden from view. People living in severely overcrowded dwellings or inadequate forms of shelter, such as boarding houses and caravan parks, are also considered to be experiencing homelessness.

Who experiences homelessness?

Thousands of men, women, young people and children experience homelessness every day.

Compared to the national population, those at risk of homelessness are more likely to be:

  • Women
  • Indigenous
  • Living in a lone-person or lone-parent household
  • On a low income
  • Unemployed or outside the labour force
  • Receiving income support payments
  • Identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual

What causes homelessness?

When people lack material resources and support, adverse life events and extreme hardship such as domestic violence, loss of a job, injury, mental ill-health can push people into homelessness as affordable and accessible housing becomes out of reach. 

Sadly, many Australians are born into entrenched poverty. This then increases their risk of experiencing homeless in the future.

Family and Domestic Violence is a major driver of homelessness. 40% of all people accessing services in 2018-19 reported violence as the primary cause behind their help-seeking, followed by mental-ill health.

Can homelessness ever be ended?

Yes, but we need the help and support of caring people like you.

One way that you can show your support for ending homelessness is to sign up to The Roughin' It Challenge!

On any given night, more than 24,000 Victorians are homeless. But it doesn’t need to be this way. We can end homelessness with your help.

Take part in the Roughin’ It Challenge to raise money and show your solidarity with people who have nowhere safe to sleep.

Live with no bed, one bag of belongings and just $10 a day for 24 or 48 hours. Ask your family, friends and others to sponsor you to complete the challenge.

The money you raise will help Launch Housing to end homelessness.

The experience you have will open your eyes to just some of the challenges people experience every day.