The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census estimates that 39% of Victorians counted as experiencing homelessness on Census night were under 25 years old. The fact that 9,742 young people are without a home can come as a shock as the issue is largely invisible. Statistics show high rates of youth homelessness, however, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg as many young people and young families are couch surfing or staying in temporary or unsuitable accommodation and so don't qualify as being homeless.
While there are many young people sleeping rough on the street, many more are staying at a friend’s place for a few nights, or in emergency accommodation, rooming houses, caravan parks or improvised dwellings. Increasing numbers of young people find themselves without a safe place to call home due to family breakdown, lack of affordable housing, and family violence. This includes young people who are:
- pregnant or have children
- living with a physical or intellectual disability
- at risk of or already living with mental health needs
- witnesses to or victims/survivors of neglect, bullying, abuse and violence
- disengaged with education, training, employment, their family and/or community
Experiencing homelessness is a tough time in the lives of young people. They are more likely to remain unemployed, use drugs and alcohol, have poor health outcomes, be exploited by others and be isolated from their family, friends and community for extended periods.