Did you know that over 116,000 Australians go without a home each night? That’s one in every 200 people.
Homelessness is more than just sleeping rough. In fact, only 7% of all homelessness is what we see on the streets. About 6 per cent of homeless Australians sleep rough; the rest are in temporary accommodation, sleeping in their cars or couch surfing.
Worryingly, homelessness is on the rise, with a 28% increase in people over 55 years experiencing it for the first time (2016 ABS Census). The number of women over 50 who are couch surfing or sleeping in their cars has almost doubled in the past four years.
There are many reasons Australians face homelessness: a shortage of affordable rental housing, family violence, financial crisis, and long-term unemployment. This, in turn, creates many social, mental and physical health problems.
Homelessness is an issue very close to my heart because between 1 in 5 and 1 in 10 homeless people have significant hearing difficulties. Now, this isn’t that different to the rest of the population but, with little to no access to hearing aids and proper care, the downstream problems of underemployment, depression and other mental health conditions may be compounded.
I’ve taken part in the Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout two years in a row, and each time it strikes me how vulnerable our homeless are. But it also reminds me that there is hope, thanks to some amazing services and caring people who volunteer their time. Read about my last Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout.
Facts from Homelessness Australia
- 1 in 200 Australians are homeless
- The gender split is 56% male, 44% female
- Homelessness can be a result of a shortage of affordable housing, family violence, poverty, financial crisis, long-term unemployment, existing prison/state care
Facts from Council to Homeless Persons
- 116,000 Homeless Australians
- 28% increase in Australians aged 55+ experiencing homelessness. ABS census 2016
- Homelessness is not just rooflessness. A home means stability, privacy, safety and being able to control your space.
- Rough sleepers only account for 7% of the homeless population