Fast facts about homelessness

By Ciaran O’Mahony

While we know it’s a serious problem, many myths about homelessness still persist today. Stereotypical assumptions about the choices and attributes of people experiencing homelessness are often extremely inaccurate. Here are some facts that may surprise you.  

Myth 1: Homeless people sleep on the streets

Rough sleepers account for just 7% of homelessness in Australia

Source: RMIT ABC Fact Check Twitter page

Myth 2: Homeless people should just get a job

30% of people experiencing homelessness have a job

Myth 3: People are homeless because of drug and alcohol addiction  

Around 60% of people experiencing homelessness do not have a drug or alcohol addiction – the remaining 40% generally developed one after finding themselves in hardship.

Myth 4: Homeless people have mental health issues  

Only 30% of people experiencing homelessness have mental health issuesmany of which occurred after finding themselves homeless.

Myth 5: There are plenty of places for homeless people to stay

Australian homelessness services are forced to turn away 250 people per day

Source: Street Smart Australia

Myth 6: Homelessness is a result of laziness

The leading causes of homelessness in Australia are a lack of housing (45%), escaping family violence (26%), money/income issues (12%) and relationship or family breakdowns (8%).

Source: Katrina Raynor, The Conversation

Myth 7: Homeless people are old

People under 25 comprise 37% of Australia’s homeless population

Myth 8: Homelessness is a minor problem in Australia

The latest Census statistics showed that 116,427 Australians were experiencing homelessness

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