Homelessness happens right in front of us

AUSTRALIAN Bureau of Statistics data reveals that there has been a 40 per cent increase in homelessness among tertiary students in the past five years, with 10,871 university and TAFE students counted as homeless on Census night 2016.

The total number of Australians counted as homeless in the 2016 Census was 116,427.

The true number is likely to be much higher, due to young people not recognising that they are living in a homeless situation, or not wanting to admit it due to the stigma.

Living in severely overcrowded dwellings, couch surfing and crisis accommodation are the three most common forms of homelessness experienced by tertiary students, the data shows. 

The housing crisis is affecting the education of thousands of university and TAFE students.

The Everybody’s Home campaign calls for federal action to address the chronic shortage of affordable accommodation for people on low incomes.

Homelessness isn’t just the rough sleeping we see on the street.

Hopping from couch to couch or living in severely overcrowded apartments without any privacy or space to study and socialise is harmful and a makes it impossible to achieve your full potential.

Homelessness happens when low incomes collide with skyrocketing rents, and students are among those vulnerable to being left without a safe place to live.

Not everyone can turn to mum and dad when things get tough.

Homelessness service data indicates an increasing number of students seeking help, with reports of students sleeping in student lounges and using university and TAFE shower facilities in the absence of stable housing, as well as accessing food vouchers and other material aid from services.

Youth Homelessness Matters Day on Wednesday, April 18 is a national day of action that aims to highlight youth homelessness.

Jenny Smith,

Homelessness Australia chair

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