What is Homelessness?

No one chooses to be homeless.

People from many different walks of life can end up without a home to call their own, often as a result of things outside their control, like family and domestic violence, systemic failure, trauma, unemployment, illness or a relationship breakdown.

Homelessness is a lack of safe, secure accommodation – a home.

Homelessness can be hidden (couch surfing or living in overcrowded unsafe places) or visible (rough sleeping or street homelessness). It can be short or long term.

The absence of a home is more than a roof over your head. It’s a lack of a safe, secure and suitable place where you can rest in safety, recover and rebuild.  It is incredibly hard to be an active participant in society and find the help needed without a fixed address.

Importantly, housing is a human right and should be viewed as such, not something that needs to be earned.

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Rough sleeping, or street homelessness, is the most extreme version of homelessness, but other types of homelessness – like couch surfing, or overcrowded housing – can be just as devastating to an individual.

The rate of homelessness in our city has been steadily increasing, spurred on by trauma, skyrocketing rents and not enough social housing. Melbourne is a wonderful city, consistently appearing in lists of the world’s most liveable.  We can be proud of that, but cannot truly be proud until Melbourne is liveable for all.

The latest (2018) City of Melbourne rough sleeping statistic represented an increase of 176% since 2010. But we know we can end homelessness.

The rapid response to the Covid 19 pandemic, where 11,000 people were placed in hotels accommodation, (including 3,929 rough sleepers), virtually eliminated rough sleeping during this period. This is one example that shows that we can solve the homelessness problem in our city with the collective will and adequate resources.

To end homelessness in our city, we need the support of all Melburnians. We’ve done it before.

You can help by taking part in the Roughin’ It Challenge. Do it rough for those doing in tough and give someone the chance to have a place to call home.

Learn more about homelessness at https://www.launchhousing.org.au/