One in 20 young Australians homeless for first time: report

One in 20 young Australians homeless for first time: report

Mission Australia’s Without a home: First-time youth homelessness in the COVID-19 period report reveals almost one in 20 young people aged 15 to 19 who responded to Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2021 were homeless for the first time during the pandemic.

According to this report, young Australians who recently faced youth homelessness during COVID-19 experienced high levels of psychological distress, negative impacts on wellbeing, family conflict, discrimination and other pressures. 

These young Australians were first-time homeless either with or without their families, and recently spent time without a fixed address, living in a refuge or transitional accommodation, or spent time away from home because they felt they couldn’t go back.

Sharon Callister is Mission Australia’s CEO.

“While many people were fortunate enough to take sanctuary in safe, secure homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost one in 20 young people were plunged into homelessness for the first time in their lives,” she said.

“This report shows just how harmful the experience of youth homelessness can be for a young person’s wellbeing, their life and their future. 

“It’s clear that for young people, homelessness can often be incredibly isolating, destabilising and traumatic. This can have a ripple effect on their lives without access to the right intervention.

“Sadly, for Mission Australia’s practitioners and others who have been working with young people during the pandemic, these findings are not a surprise. Yet we must not accept this as just the way things must be.

Mission Australia says more must be done to improve the wellbeing and address the concerns raised by young people who are homeless or who have been homeless. 

“I have seen young lives turned around and transformed by our services, and yet still, too many young people are falling through the cracks of the service system.”

“The need for a comprehensive approach to end youth homelessness in Australia has never been more urgent.”

“Early intervention is key and we urge governments and others to do everything it takes so young people are adequately supported to avoid homelessness, reach their full potential and thrive.”

“While the Government has also made a welcome $10 billion commitment to new social and affordable homes, more investment is needed, as are increased rental subsidies and more youth-specific housing-and-support models across Australia.”

The report shows young females were twice as likely as young males to have gone without a safe home during the pandemic.

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