Youth Homelessness: The Facts and Stats

Youth homelessness by the numbers

  • Nearly a quarter (23.0%) of Australia’s homeless population are aged from 12 to 24 years (28,204 people)
  • Young people presenting alone (unaccompanied by a parent or guardian) accounted for 14% (38,300) of all people seeking support from Specialist Homelessness Services in 2022-23
  • Of the 122,494 people experiencing homelessness in 2021, 17,646 (14.4%) were aged under 12 years
  • 45,850 children and young people (aged up to 24 years) were reported as experiencing homelessness in the 2021 Census



Young people seeking help from specialist homelessness services

  • In 2021-22, 3,317 children aged 10-14 years presented alone to a Specialist Homelessness Service – i.e. without a parent or guardian (these numbers only represent those with the capacity to contact a service, there are many more who are not represented by this data)
  • Currently HALF of the children and young people in desperate need of a crisis bed for the night don’t get it.
  • In 2023, 8,450 children and young people seeking specialist homelessness support had to be turned away.

*AIHW, Specialist Homelessness Services annual report 2021–22


Key drivers of homelessness

  • The most common reasons young people sought homelessness assistance in 2020-21 were family & domestic violence, housing crisis and family breakdowns.
  • 48% of young people seeking homelessness support in 2021-22 were experiencing a mental health issue.
  • Roughly half of all youth experiencing homelessness live in severely crowded dwellings.

*AIHW, Specialist Homelessness Services annual report 2021–22

Homelessness among First Nations peoples

  • Of all children and young people experiencing homelessness on census night in 2021, 36% (16,538) identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
  • In 2021, 24,930 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people were estimated to be experiencing homelessness, representing one in five (20.4%) of all people experiencing homelessness in Australia.


Young people leaving care

  • 35% of young people in state care end up homeless after they turn 18.
  • Within one year, 50% of state care leavers will be unemployed, in jail, homeless or had become a new parent.
  • Almost two thirds of young people who have experienced homelessness have spent time in out-of-home care.

*Home stretch campaign

Key facts

  • The younger a person is when they first experience homelessness, the more likely their homelessness will become entrenched
  • Around half of rough sleepers first became homeless when they were young (median age 13)
  • Life outcomes for people who became homeless when young are far worse than for adults (education, employment, health, mental health etc.)