Young people in particular are impacted by homelessness. They make up 42 per cent of the Australian homeless population.
Homelessness is traumatic, especially for children and young people just beginning to make their own way in life. It makes every day activities like attending school and getting a job, more difficult. They often experience mental and physical health problems.
The Salvation Army provides 40 youth homelessness services – this makes up just over a quarter of all our homelessness programs. We support thousands of young people each week who are at risk, disengaged and vulnerable or even homeless.
We believe every young person should be given the chance to reach his or her potential. We offer opportunities for young people to improve their life and situation, to build resilience, engage with education and training opportunities, improve their social networks and become active participants in their community.
Couch surfing is extremely common among young people, and many people don’t even realise it’s a form of homelessness. Only 6% of the 44,000 homeless young Australians are sleeping rough on the streets – so in many ways couch surfing is a hidden problem.
When home isn’t safe, young people tend to stay on the couch at a friend's place. But just because they have a roof over their head, it does not mean they are safe.
All it takes is one night without a couch to sleep on, and they may have to sleep on the couch of a stranger, or end up sleeping rough.