It is not about
not having a roof over your head.
not having a place to call home.
What is youth homelessness?
Most young people experiencing homelessness aren’t sleeping on the streets. Rather they fall into the ‘hidden homelessness’ category:
People sleeping in cars, couch surfing, or staying in other temporary types of accommodation including boarding houses, crisis accommodation, squats, or severely crowded dwellings.¹
A home means a sense of security, stability, privacy, safety, and the ability to control living space. (Mallet, 2004).
Anyone without regular access to conventional accommodation could be considered homeless.²
Homelessness includes people living in unsafe family circumstances, for example where child abuse or where domestic violence has occurred or is a very real threat.
What causes youth homelessness?
Homelessness is not just the result of too few houses. Its causes are many and varied.³
- A shortage of affordable housing
- Severe overcrowding / housing crisis
- Domestic and family violence
- Exiting State care
- Poverty, often intergenerational
- Mental illness, psychological distress
- Drug and alcohol abuse
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2. Chamberlain, C., Johnson, G., and Robinson, C. (eds) (2014) Homelessness in Australia – an introduction NewSouth Publishing, Sydney.
3. Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, 2008.