Written by: Rose Davidson, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
How can businesses help break the cycle of this crisis? The experience of homelessness includes vulnerable people living in refuges, crisis accommodation or in temporary housing.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a person will experience homelessness when there is a lack of suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:
is in an inadequate dwelling, or
has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable, or
does not allow them to control and access space for social relations.
Every night, more than 116,000 people in Australia experience homelessness—although the most visible experience involves sleeping rough on the streets, this type of homelessness only represents 7% of the homeless population. Thousands of men, women, young people, and children forced to ‘couch surf’, seek shelter in a car or rely on temporary accommodation are experiencing different forms of homelessness. People living in severely overcrowded dwellings or inadequate forms of shelter that fall well below adequate standards, such as boarding houses and caravan parks, are also considered to be experiencing homelessness.
Who is at risk of homelessness?
Despite the common perception of a person experiencing homelessness as an older male who sleeps in an inner-city park or street, there is no ‘typical’ experience of homelessness.
People of all ages and backgrounds are at risk of homelessness. According to data from the Census, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, children, and older women are more vulnerable to homelessness than other groups in society.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Despite accounting for only 3.3% of our population, 20% of all people experiencing homelessness identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and experience much higher rates of overcrowding.
Children and young people: Children and young people living with a single parent or fleeing family and domestic violence can be particularly vulnerable to homelessness. In 2018-2019, 18% of all people who received assistance from specialist homelessness services were under twenty-five. Children under nine were overrepresented among children who received assistance from a homelessness service.
Older women: More than 6,800 women aged fifty-five and over are homeless. Still, the proportion of older women experiencing homelessness continues to increase by over 30% in five years. Additionally, older women experiencing homelessness are typically hidden from view, with many moving between family or friends or living in overcrowded dwellings.
The complex causes of homelessness in Australia
Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness in Australia.
Domestic and family violence is one of the main reasons people seek support from specialist homelessness services. In 2018-2019, 40% of people searching for accommodation at specialist homelessness services experienced domestic and family violence. This threat to their safety means many women and their children are forced to leave their homes, often with nowhere to go.
Various systemic, structural, and individual factors, including social disadvantage, financial hardship, poor health, and more, cause homelessness.
Vulnerable people experiencing or at risk of homelessness can also grapple with mental health issues, alcohol or other drug dependencies and relationship instability. Structural factors such as the shortage of social and affordable housing options contribute to the risk of homelessness.
What businesses can do to help
The primary purpose of Haven Housing Foundation is to empower lives and restore hope with affordable homes.
This includes people facing the real potential of homelessness of those affected by natural disasters and women fleeing domestic and family violence. We believe that if we, as a society, can contribute to the world's rich fabric, we can make it a better place and create a home for a person that there once was not. Homelessness is only a circumstance or two away, regardless of where you are today.
Contact us here.
Rose Davidson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Rose is an entrepreneur, online event manager, podcast trainer, podcast host and producer, Livestream presenter and producer, Amazon #1 International bestseller (2020) and BRAINZ Magazine Executive Contributor and award winner (2021) and a co-founder of Healing Through Love, a domestic and family violence awareness initiative started in Adelaide, Australia.
Spending more than 35 years in high-level administrative roles in the corporate world, Rose started her business in 2015. Her passion lies in being visually creative and Rose provides online services to speakers, coaches, consultants, and small business owners that fulfil this passion by helping them to create memorable online experiences.