Facts about homelessness
In March 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest statistics on homelessness in Australia collected at the 2016 Census. The fact sheets on this page are currently being updated to reflect the new data. You can view key statistics on homelessness in Australia and Victoria on the ABS website and in our infographics below.
Many people, if asked, would say that homelessness is when you don’t have a roof over your head, for example sleeping rough on the streets. However rough sleeping is only a small part of the picture. Homelessness is about not having a home – ‘home’lessness, not rooflessness. A home means a sense of security, stability, privacy, safety, and the ability to control living space (Mallet, 2004).
It is for this reason that the Australian Bureau of Statistics defines someone as homeless if their current living arrangement:
- is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
- has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
- does not allow them to have control of or, access to space for social relations.
In order to work out how many people are homeless, the ABS counts people who are living somewhere temporarily, in a boarding house, living in supported homelessness accommodation, sleeping out (or in things such as tents) and living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of people who experience homelessness aren’t rough sleepers (living on the streets). In fact, rough sleeping only makes up around 7% of homelessness while the remainder is ‘hidden homelessness’, that is, people sleeping in cars, rooming houses, couch surfing, or staying in other temporary types of accommodation.
Over 24,000 Victorians and 116,000 Australians will be homeless tonight. They include families with children, young people, older people, single adults & people with disabilities. Find out more at: chp.org.au/homelessness/ Click To Tweet
Over 24,000 Victorians and 116,000 Australians are homeless on any given night (ABS, 2018). They include; families with children, young people, older people, single adults, people with disabilities, people in regional and rural Victoria and people in urban neighbourhoods.
CHP research and resources
International homelessness organisations
Further information on housing and homelessness