Homelessness is when you don't have a safe and affordable home to sleep or live in. Explore this topic page for  videos, stories and information about homelessness and the support that is available.

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A fantastic doco by Pulse Youth Centre, TAS about how creating music, and being part of a group involved in music production has helped a group of young men through tough times in their life.

  • Author: Pulse Youth Health
  • Upload Date: 2015-04-22

Create by Pulse Youth Health

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Featured Story (text)

My Hope is ME!

My Hope is ME!

A work by Rose

My Hope Is ME!

I am Homeless. I have no house I have no bed.
But don't think I am hopeless. They are two different words.

I may not have a kitchen or a TV but I still eat meals and seek entertainment.
I may not have a backyard but this city is a playground bigger than any.
I may not have a dinner table surrounded by my loved ones; but I still share my meals with my friends on the street.
I may not have fancy or clean clothes but I am warm and I know many of my friends are not.
I may not bathe regularly but I appreciate every shower as if it's my last. (How often to you value every minute of hot water?)
I may smell bad as you walk past me but that really is the least of either of our problems!
I may be an inconvenience or make you feel uncomfortable but your pity has bought me lunch today so I am thankful regardless.
I may find comfort in the addictions that ease my boredom and dull my pain but who are you to point the fingers wrapped around iPhones and another coffee cup.
I may sleep with all my clothes on for warmth and my possessions as a hard pillow but at least I know they will be there in the morning.
I may want for things I cannot have but that is the hope which keeps me going.
That hope is not something I can buy or drink, it doesn't come with free blankets or a shelter bed. It is not in hot food or my Centrelink pay, nor is it a person or a place.

It's just hope!

Just a simple belief that I am more than where I sleep or what I wear. My hope comes from the school girl who stops and sits with me while she waits for the bus. My hope is in the eyes of the stranger who smiles every morning. My hope knows no racism, no hate, no judgement and no bias. My hope is mine and you may take every THING -† but my hope is ME!
As long as I breathe, I hope. Homeless or not, I hope for more than you know!

Click to read the text

poetry written by me

  • Author: Rose
  • Upload Date: 2012-03-12



Provided by Reach Out

We have partnered with Reach Out to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Reach Out offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.


What is homelessness?

homelessness managing being homeless

The Power of a Front Door Key. Image credit: rubygirlcreations | Flickr

Homelessness is when you don't have a safe and affordable home to sleep or live in. One in every 200 Australians is homeless and each night 100,000 Australians do not have a place to call home. Almost half of that group are young people under the age of 25.

There are four main levels of homelessness

  • ¬†Sleeping rough: Living and sleeping on the street, in parks, cars or bus shelters; squatting in abandoned houses.
  • ¬†Stop gap housing: In temporary housing, crisis or refuge accommodation, moving between the homes of friends or relatives, living in squats.
  • ¬†Boarding house resident: Staying in a boarding house on a medium to long-term basis without security.
  • ¬†Marginally housed - Living in caravan parks for financial reasons or because there are problems accessing more mainstream housing.

What causes homelessness?

 You might find yourself homeless for different reasons affecting either yourself or someone else in your home. Some causes of being homeless include:

All these factors might cause you to become homeless but they also may be some of the reasons why you stay homeless. For example, drug and alcohol abuses or lack of money can be both a cause and a result of homelessness.

When can you legally leave home?

The age that you are legally allowed to leave home varies from state to state, but is usually between 16 and 18. If you leave home before that age, and someone thinks you are at risk of suffering significant harm, they can report this to the Department of Human Services.

If the Department is concerned for your safety, they can ask the Family Division of the Children's Court to make an order to protect you. The order can say where you will live and who you will live with. The Department is unlikely to take you to court if you:

  • Have somewhere decent to live
  • Have enough money to live on
  • Are mentally healthy
  • Are not involved with drugs, prostitution or any other illegal activities.

If there are serious problems at home and you don't want to go back, it is unlikely that you will be forced to. A court may order that you live somewhere else, such as with another family or in a hostel.

Check out Lawstuff for more information about the law in your state.

Where to get help

homelessness managing being homeless

For a short period friends may lend you their couch. Image Credit: Racingmix | Flickr

Everyone has the right to a safe and affordable place to live in. If you are under 18, the government has a responsibility to make sure this happens.

If you are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, there are services that can help you find a place to stay. They can also put you in touch with a social worker and other services that can give you advice about money, employment and, if you'd like, support for longer term issues.

Emergency accommodation and food - if you need a place to stay immediately, ring Lifeline on 131 114 or Kids helpline on 1800 55 1800. They each have a database of emergency accommodation and food services around Australia, many of which are free. Centrelink can also put you in touch with emergency and refuge accommodation.

If you have been forced out of rental accommodation or community housing, it's worth contacting the Tenants Union (check your white pages for contact details in your state). They will be able to give you advice on your rights and responsibilities.

Check out the services listed below under 'more information' and the websites listed in the resource area at the bottom of this page.

Help with finances

Centrelink can provide financial assistance through their Youth Allowance when there's extreme family breakdown or you're at serious physical or mental risk. They have a process for assessing whether you are eligible, which includes interviewing yourself, a parent and a third party, such as a teacher or counsellor.


Being homeless may mean that study or work is disrupted while you find a safe home. Most universities and workplaces will give you special consideration (such as extensions) if you explain your situation.

 The Job Placement, Employment and Training (JPET) program is aimed at assisting students and unemployed young people aged 15-21 years (with priority to be given to those aged 15 to 19), who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, search for JPET in your local area for contact details.

Talk to someone

Talking to people you trust and respect about the alternatives and consequences might be helpful. Making sure you have all the information that you need before you make any decision is also very important. This may be communicating with a family member, friend, religious leader, youth worker, teacher or counsellor.

Other suggestions for managing homelessness

As well as immediate financial and accommodation issues, you might find that being homeless raises a range of other issues or problems. These may include:

Even if you do have a regular income, it might be that, after rent and other costs, you do not have much left over to buy food. There are number of ways to save on food, including buying 'no-name' brands, buying food that is on sale or close to its use-by food date, and stock up on food like cheap noodles so that so you always have something to eat. Also, try organising to have dinner regularly at a friend's or family member's house.

Friends and relationships
When you're not living at home it can be hard to maintain friends and relationships and feel connected. It might be useful to agree to meet, phone or email them at regular times each week. Libraries and youth centres often have free access to the internet.

Busking can be a good way to earn money. However, each council has different laws whether it's allowed, and if it is, if you need a permit, and if there are conditions around when and where you can busk. Check with your local council for the details.

Longer term issues
You may feel that there are issues that led to you leaving home, that you would like support for, visit our finding help page for more info.

More information


Centrelink Appointments - 13 10 21


YFoundations- 9318 1531 OR 1800 424 830 (24 hour service - toll free outside the Sydney Metro region)


Trace-a-Place (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) - 08 8413 8150 OR 1800 807 364 (free call)

Crisis Care - 13 16 11 (24 hrs)


Crisis Care (5pm to 9am, Monday to Friday, Weekends - all day) - 07 3225 1573 OR 1800 642 902 (free call)


Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service (24 Hour Service) - (03) 9373 0123 OR 1800 015 188 (Toll Free)


Crisis Care: 08 9325 1111 OR 1800 199 008


Youth Accommodation Services (Alice Springs) - 08 8953 4200


PASS (Placement and Support Service) - 1800 24 32 32


Thanks to the Youth Accommodation Association for editing this factsheet.

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2 Responses to “Homelessness”

  1. lynz says:

    Have you had an experience of being homeless? How did you manage, and what tips would you offer others, leave a comment and let us know.

  2. vanik says:

    hi, yes i was homeless and my advise is be ware of drug and sex, try find safe place to sleep, go and ask many organisation like Salvation Army and so on, think this not for ever, try get job any job or go to collage study, get an address and go to centre like to get paid, i will pray every day you be safe my sisters and brothers.

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