The following facts and figures are from Homelessness Australia, as reported in Big Issue Magazine:
• On any given night at least 99,000 Australians are homeless (2001 census, Australian Bureau of Statistics).
• Homelessness can be caused by poverty, unemployment, lack of affordable housing, domestic violence, family breakdown, alcohol and other drug use, financial difficulty, gambling and/or social isolation.
• Domestic violence is the single biggest cause of homelessness, involving one in every two homeless women with children.
• Family breakdown is the primary reason why young men and women seek support from homelessness assistance services.
• Families with children form the largest group of people who are homeless.
• One in every 50 Australian children under five years of age will access a homelessness assistance service this year; of these children 20% are Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
• Crisis accommodation is especially lacking for families: two out of three children accompanying adults are turned away from homelessness assistance services every day. There are not enough services within these organisations to provide for the specific needs of these children.
• Children experiencing homelessness suffer with health, mental health and well-being issues, as well as from the impact of an interrupted and often incomplete education. They may well go on to become homeless adults.
• There are more young women that are homeless than young men.
• One in every 50 young women aged 18–19 will stay in a homelessness assistance service this year.
• One in five young people living out of their family home are living in poverty. People live in poverty when they do not have enough resources to meet their basic needs, including food, housing, heating and health care. Single parent families have the highest poverty rates.
• Housing stress occurs when 30% of income is spent of housing costs. Acute housing stress occurs when 50% of income is spent on housing. More and more families are experiencing housing stress.