Everyone needs a place to call home – somewhere to feel safe, secure and nurtured. FutureSteps is grounded in this belief.

Yet for many Australians this is not the case and housing stress is now one of Australia’s largest social issues. Many are homeless and even more are vulnerable through family breakdown, mental illness, addiction, injury and illness, unemployment and debt. And many more are impacted by housing stress simply through the lack of housing affordability. The reasons for homelessness are as varied as they are complex.

What is homelessness?

Homelessness is not just sleeping rough which accounts for only 7% of people considered to be homeless (Census 2016). A person is considered homeless if their current living arrangement is within a dwelling that is inadequate; has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or does not allow them to have control of and access to social spaces. This includes staying at refuges or transitional housing, rough sleeping and makeshift tents, couch surfing and other temporary arrangements, sleeping in a car, or overcrowded housing.



Number of people who identified as homeless on the 2016 Census night


Increase in people who identified as homeless on Census night from 2006 to 2016


Increase in people who identified as homeless and over 55 on Census night from 2006 to 2016


Number of people on the waiting list for social housing across Australia as of 30 June 2021


Number of homeless people on the 2016 Census night who were aged between 12-24 years old


Increase in persons living in overcrowded dwellings between 2006 – 2016 on Census night


Number of people that sought help from specialist homeless services in 2020-21


Increase in greatest needs households on public housing waiting lists from 2019 to 2021


See the Give Me Shelter report by Housing All Australians.

Source: Homelessness Australia, 2016 Census - Parliament of Australia