Back in 2003 I was involved in a major research project that looked at the experiences of homeless young people in rural parts of Australia, specifically South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. With my colleagues — Fiona Verity, Susan Oakley, Jasmin Packer, Kristin Natalier, Paul Delfabbo and Alice Bass. We looked at how young people in rural areas end up homeless, how their homelessness experiences differ from those of people living in the cities, and whether social supports were adequate for their needs.
This special issue of Parity is, in part, an attempt to pass on some of the findings of that research to the service-providing community. Many of my colleagues from that research have contributed papers to this Special Issue. We also have contributions from other people with knowledge and experience of youth homelessness outside the capitals.
In this special issue we have papers from virtually every corner of Australia and this highlights the ubiquity of the problems of youth homelessness in non-metropolitan areas. This diversity of opinion and geographical perspective is important as it reminds us of the very different ways we can come to understand the problems of homelessness amongst young people in rural areas: the views of the academic researcher are important, as are those of the homeless person, the service provider, the government department and the nongovernment peak bodies.