Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019) Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 04 February 2023.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-2017-18
Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 13 February 2019, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-2017-18
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18 [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019 [cited 2023 Feb. 4]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-2017-18
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019, Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18, viewed 4 February 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-2017-18
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Young people require access to a range of accommodation and support services as they grow and develop their skills to live independently. Young people experiencing homelessness can face increased disadvantage than other cohorts, as they lack access to family support and networks, compounding the need for crisis and transitional housing assistance . Children and young people are a national priority cohort listed in the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement , which came into effect on 1 July 2018.
According to Census data, there were approximately 27,700 homeless youth aged 12–24 years in 2016, representing 24% of the total estimated homeless population; up from 25,200 people in 2011 and 21,900 in 2006 [3,4,5].
Of the approximate 27,700 homeless youth in 2016, 59% (or 16,400) were living in 'severely' crowded dwellings, and 18% (or 5,000) were in supported accommodation for the homeless. Additionally, 10% (or 2,900) were staying temporarily with other households, and 9% (or 2,600) were living in boarding houses .
Although young people are over-represented in the homeless population, homeless estimates for youth are likely to have been underestimated in the Census . For example, a usual address may be reported for 'couch surfers' because the young person is staying in a household on Census night. Their homelessness is masked as their characteristics look no different to other youth who are not homeless, but visiting another household on Census night .
Of the 43,200 young people (aged 15–24) presenting alone to a specialist homelessness agency in 2017–18:
Three of the main vulnerabilities reported in the SHS client population are mental health issues, domestic and family violence and problematic drug and/or alcohol use. Almost two-thirds (63% or 27,100) of young clients presenting alone reported at least one of these vulnerabilities (Table YOUNG.1):
Domestic and family violence
Mental health issue
and/or alcohol use
1. Client vulnerability groups are mutually exclusive.
2. Clients are aged 15–24.
3. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2017–18.
Since 2013–14, the number of young people presenting alone to an agency has remained relatively constant. Key trends over the past 5 years are (Table YOUNG.2):
Number of clients
Proportion of all clients
Rate (per 10,000 population)
Housing situation at the beginning of the first support period (proportion (per cent) of all clients)
At risk of homelessness
Length of support (median number of days)
Average number of support periods per client
Proportion receiving accommodation
Median number of nights accommodated
Proportion of a client group with a case management plan
Achievement of all case management goals (per cent)
In 2017–18, age and age-related variables were derived using a more robust calculation method. Data for previous years have been updated with the improved calculation method for age. As such, data prior to 2017–18 contained in the SHS Annual Report may not match that contained in the SHS Annual Report Historical Tables.
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2013–14 to 2017–18.
At the beginning of support around half of young people presenting alone to SHS agencies were homeless (52% or about 22,500 clients). A further 20,700 (or 48%) young people presenting alone were at risk of homelessness (Table YOUNG.2).
In 2017–18, the main reason young people presenting alone sought assistance included: housing crises (22% or 9,600 clients), domestic and family violence (18% or 7,800 clients), inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions (11% or 4,800 clients), and relationship/family breakdown (11% or 4,600 clients).
For young people presenting alone, the most common needs identified (excluding basic services such as advice/information, or advocacy/liaison) were accommodation related, with 63% requesting some form of accommodation (Figure YOUNG.1):
Compared with the overall SHS population, young people presenting alone were more likely to be identified as needing assistance with:
The need for these services was unmet in some cases. Nearly 1 in 6 (17%) of those who identified a need for educational assistance were not provided that service, as were 54% of those who identified a need for medium-term/transitional housing, and 21% for employment assistance.
The outcomes presented in this section examine the changes in clients’ housing situations from the start to the end of support. Only clients who ceased receiving support by the end of the financial year are included in this section—meaning their support periods had closed and they did not have ongoing support at the end of the 2017–18 reporting period. However, it is important to note that a proportion of these clients may seek assistance from SHS agencies again in future.
For young people presenting alone (Figure YOUNG.2):
Where a young person presented housed, but at risk of homelessness (around 11,700) (that is, living either in public or community housing (renter or rent free), private or other housing (renter or rent free), or in institutional settings) (Table YOUNG.3):
For those young people presenting alone who were homeless when they began support (around 12,800) (that is, living either with no shelter or improvised/inadequate dwelling, short-term or emergency accommodation, or in a house, townhouse, or flat with relatives (rent free)), (Table YOUNG.3):
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2017–18, National supplementary table YOUNG.4.
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