About Homelessness & its Causes
Homelessness affects more than 100,000 Australians every day of the year. In Victoria, more than 24,800 Victorians registered as homeless in the 2016 Census. We have seen an increase in demand on our services as rising rents and shrinking affordable and social housing stock force people into homelessness.
The ABS definition of homelessness has six operational groups:
- persons living in improvised dwellings, tents, or sleeping out (rough sleeping)
- persons in supported accommodation for the homeless
- persons staying temporarily with other households
- persons living in boarding houses
- persons in other temporary lodgings, and
- persons living in severely crowded dwellings.
Sleeping rough, in cars or in unsafe, unaffordable transient or insecure housing has severe effects, it is extremely stressful and damaging to people’s physical and mental health due to the fear, anxiety and violence that people who are homeless often experience.
In Australia it’s considered that there are three different ‘types’ of homelessness: primary, secondary and tertiary.
Primary homelessness refers to people living on the streets, sleeping in parks, or squatting in derelict buildings for temporary shelter. This is the most visible form of homelessness that most people will be familiar with.
Secondary homelessness includes people living emergency accommodation such as refuges and hostels. It also includes people staying temporarily within other households or “couch surfing”, because they have no accommodation of their own.
Tertiary homelessness covers people living in boarding houses on a long-term and a short-term basis, as well as marginal residents of caravan parks or in extreme overcrowding.