To mark Homelessness Week 2017, Council to Homeless Persons analysed Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data to expose trends in ‘hidden’ forms of homelessness.
Just 6% of people who are experiencing homelessness are sleeping on the street. The majority are effectively invisible to society. This data shows that hidden forms of homelessness are rising rapidly as the impact of the housing affordability crisis affects people on the lowest incomes. A recent AHURI report has found that more than 1.3 million households cannot afford the private rental market or need assistance to rent without putting themselves in financial stress.
Homelessness Australia has launched the 100,000 Homes campaign, which calls on the Federal Government to deliver 100,000 new public and community housing properties over five years.
The face of the campaign is Christine, a former teacher, who at 48 found herself sleeping on the floor of a friend’s spare room with her daughter. You can support Christine’s call for 100,000 Homes by signing her petition.
Last year, over 40,000 Australians who were couch surfers sought homelessness assistance; a 46% increase over four years.
Older women couchsurfing – Last year 1,618 women over the age of 50 sought assistance from homelessness services who were couchsurfing at the time. This represents an 83% rise since 2012-13.
Last year, 6,383 children aged 0-17 years who sought assistance from homelessness services were couch surfing; up 55% in 4 years
Joal couchsurfed for a significant portion of her childhood. Listen to her story in this video.
Sleeping in cars
Last year 5,473 people sought assistance from homelessness services who were sleeping in their cars; a 60% increase in 4 years
There has been a 75% increase in women aged 55+ sleeping in their cars, presenting at homelessness services.
Hear about Jody’s experience of living out of her van in this video:
Rooming houses are often a last resort for people squeezed out of private rental. There has been a 23% increase in the number of older people seeking assistance from homelessness services who are living in rooming houses.
Kevin was savagely attacked whilst living in a rooming house, and decided sleeping on the street was safer.