Report

Staying home: a Youth Survey report on young people’s experience of homelessness

Publisher
Mental health promotion Homelessness Mental health Homeless youth Australia
Description

About 25,000 young people aged between 15 and 19 participated in Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2019.

Key findings:

Among 22,673 Youth Survey 2019 respondents,

  • More than one in six young people (17%) reported having an experience of some type of homelessness.
  • 7% of respondents indicated having experienced a time when they had no fixed address or lived in a refuge or transitional accommodation at least once.
  • 13% of young people reported a couch surfing experience.

Young people with an experience of homelessness were more likely to indicate experiences of challenges and disadvantages compared to those who hadn’t experienced homelessness.

Barriers to post school goals for young people who have experienced homelessness:

Young people who have experience homelessness were more likely to perceive barriers to the achievement of their study or work goals: 68% compared with 45% of young people who have never experienced homelessness.

The barriers perceived by young people who have experienced homelessness include:

  • mental health  29% compared with 14% of young people who have never experienced homelessness
  • academic ability  24% compared with 19% of young people who have never experienced homelessness
  • financial difficulty  21% compared with 11% of young people who have never experienced homelessness
  • family responsibilities  17% compared with 6% of young people who have never experienced homelessness

Personal concerns:

Young people who have experienced homelessness were much more concerned about:

  • family conflict  41% compared with 13% of young people who have never experienced homelessness
  • mental health  52% compared with 29% of young people who have never experienced homelessness
  • suicide  29% compared with 11% of young people who have never experienced homelessness

Bullying:

  • More than twice the proportion of young people who have experienced homelessness reported that they have been bullied in the past year: 40% compared with 17% of respondents who have never experienced homelessness.
  • Over three times the proportion of young people who have experienced homelessness reported that the bullying occurred at home: 33% compared with 10% of respondents who have never experienced homelessness.

Family:

  • Six times the proportion of respondents who have experienced homelessness rated their family’s ability to get along as poor: 24% compared with 4% of respondents who have never experienced homelessness.

Wellbeing:

  • Almost four times the proportion of respondents who have experienced homelessness felt very sad/sad with their life as a whole: 27% compared with 7% of respondents who have never experienced homelessness.
  • Over twice the proportion of those who have experienced homelessness indicated some form of psychological distress: 52% compared with 21% of respondents who have never experienced homelessness.

Key recommendations:

  • Develop a National Homelessness Plan with a special focus on young people.
  • Prevent youth homelessness by reducing domestic and family violence and family conflict.
  • Fund youth specific housing options including Youth Foyers.
  • Invest in flexible learning models and youth specific employment programs that support young people experiencing homelessness.
  • Ensure social security payments are adequate and do not place young people at risk of homelessness.
  • Integrate housing and mental health supports for young people.
Publication Details
ISBN:

978-1-875357-05-5