Youth Homelessness

Youth Homelessness

There are currently 44,083* young people under the age of 24 who are considered homeless, but only 16% will be sleeping rough.

The term “street kids” is referenced often, but in reality, many homeless young people are invisible to us. Over 80% of “homeless” young people are thought to be couch-surfing. This means they are in temporary living situations with friends, relatives or even complete strangers; sleeping on the floor, spare mattresses or couches until they are forced to move on.

Oasis supports young people between the ages of 16-25 years who are marginalised and disadvantaged, many of whom have been sleeping rough, couch surfing or in unstable and unsafe living arrangements. We understand that the solution is not limited to a meal, bed and roof overhead for a night; it is a model of care that is holistic in design and focused on promoting safety, collaboration, trustworthiness, empowerment and choice in all interactions.

Homeless does not mean houseless.

What are the main causes of youth homelessness?

There are many reasons why young people become homeless, but in most circumstances this is outside of their control.

  • Family breakdown or domestic violence
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Mental illness
  • Long-term unemployment
  • Exiting state care
  • Intergenerational poverty
  • Chronic shortage of affordable housing
  • Severe overcrowding/housing crisis
  • Non-English speaking backgrounds

Homelessness does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, but we also know that young people who are indigenous, from a single or blended family, have been homeless as a child or exiting foster care, are at greater risk of homelessness.

In some instances, health problems are a consequence of homelessness, not just the cause. Decline in mental health, depression, poor nutrition and substance abuse can all be attributed to a life on the street, in refuges or couch surfing.

Did you know that domestic and family violence, as well as sexual assault are the main reasons why women 15-24 seek help from Specialist Homelessness Services.**

Did you know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are much more likely to experience homelessness?**

Did you know that the longer someone remains homeless, the greater the chance of developing severe mental illness?**

To find out more about youth homelessness, please refer to the links below.

Relevant Links

Homelessness Australia


Department of Social Services

Youth Homelessness Matters Day

Advocates for Youth

Sane Australia

* Source: ABS, Census of population and housing 2011 (estimating homelessness, 2012)

** Source: Homelessness Australia