Tipping points into homelessness: a young person looking for work

Throughout Anti-Poverty Week (16-22 October 2016) we are rolling out a series of vignettes and infographics of people who find themselves on the edge of homelessness when the high cost of housing collides with the ‘tipping point’ of an unexpected life event. Subscribe to eNews to get these updates delivered direct to your inbox.


Noah is 20-years old, from regional Victoria. Noah wants to be an electrician, but couldn’t find a suitable apprenticeship in his area so he moved to Melbourne where he found an employer. After completing his apprenticeship his employer couldn’t afford to keep him on, and he couldn’t find work in the field so he took some shifts at a local café where he was working up to 30 hours per week.

Noah lives in a share house in Blackburn with three other people, paying $120 per week in rent plus bills. He also owns a car which he sometimes uses to get to work. Recently the café had to cut his shifts, and for the last month he has worked no more than 20 hours in a week.

For around six months Noah had been experiencing pain in his back tooth. However, he couldn’t afford to see a dentist. During the last week he developed a shooting pain in his jaw, which forced him to the emergency room where they found he had an infection caused by a damaged root canal. His only option was to have it fixed immediately, leaving him with a bill of $1,200. 

Due to the cost of this treatment, Noah’s rent fell into arrears and his housemates are pressuring him to leave. Although his support network isn’t very strong in Melbourne, Noah is reluctant to go back to his home town more than five hours away because there are few job prospects there and he is still looking for work as an electrician.

Income and expenses per week:

Income: was $600, now $400

Expenses: $292


Rent: $120

Difference: $108

Mobile phone: $12


Petrol: $20


Food: $90


Public transport: $30


Utilities/bills: $20