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Housing, homelessness

Homelessness Australia is the national peak body working to prevent and respond to homelessness in Australia. Formed in late 1998 as the Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations (AFHO) by the Council for Homeless Persons Australia, the National Youth Coalition for Housing (NYCH), and the Women's Emergency Services Network (WESNET), Homelessness Australia changed its name in 2007 to better reflect the sector. 

Homelessness Australia seeks to improve community awareness and understanding of the issues facing homeless Australian, advocates for people who are homeless, aims to represent the interests of homeless assistance services, and contributes to policy development and the evaluation of Australia's homelessness service system.  

The National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness  was an independent community inquiry funded by the Caledonia Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation focused on sustainable futures for young Australians. The inquiry was the first since the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission inquiry in 1989 headed by Brian Burdekin.

  • Announced on 8 March 2007, the inquiry examined why youth homelessness continues to be a major problem in Australia.
  • In April 2008, the National Youth Commission released the results of its inquiry. The report was the result of 21 days of hearings in all states and territories, evidence from 319 individuals and 91 written submissions, including seven from state government departments. The inquiry was lead by Father Wally Dethlefs, Narelle Clay, David Eldridge (chairman of the NYC), and Assoc. Prof. David MacKenzie of RMIT.
  • The NYC report, titled Australia's homeless youth called for the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct an inquiry into the number of young people leaving state care who become homeless. The report also included specific recommendations on health, mental health and alcohol and other drugs.
  • Alongside the NYC Inquiry, a major feature documentary, The OASIS, was made by the documentary production company Shark Island Productions. Homeless young people participated in the film for over two years, courageously sharing their life experiences.
  • The report can also be downloaded from The OASIS documentary website.
  • Also see the Australia Policy Online opinion piece by the report's authors.

The Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) was established in 1972 and represents both individuals and organisations with a stake or interest in homelessness. The vision and mission of CHP is to work for the elimination of homelessness and a inclusive society by being the leading policy and advocacy organisation on homeless issues in Victoria.

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) is concerned with housing and urban research and policy and aims to link quality research and the development of ideas with policy development, program evaluation and project development in public and private sectors. AHURI is organised as a network comprising a small management company, AHURI Ltd, in Melbourne and eight participating research centres throughout Australia. See AHURI's excellent page of links to housing departments and related organisations nationally.

The Homelessness Information Clearinghouse is an online tool designed to help tackle homelessness in Australia.

Unity Foundation

Unity Foundation aims to ensure that the focus of practice intervention is clear and is focused on the child and young people's needs, thus ensuring that the intervention is child and young people driven rather than theoretically driven. Their aim is to ensure that services are relevant to children and young people, are accessible to children and young people and are child and young person friendly in focus.

At Unity Foundation, a child and young people's needs and strengths are assessed thoroughly with a particular emphasis on the child/young people's own perceptions and expression of his/her needs and strengths. The effectiveness of interventions are examined in terms of the consequences for the child/young person. Outcomes are reviewed in light of the consequences for the child/young person. What is seen as a positive outcome for professionals, parents, family or the State does not necessarily imply a positive outcome for the child/young person.

Recent government intiatives:

  • In May 2008, the Australian Government's Green Paper titled 'Which way home? A new approach to homelessness' was released.
  • 'The Road Home', the Australian Government's plan to halve homelessness by 2020, was released on 22 December 2008.

Government programs

The Supported Accommodation Assistance Program

SAAP is Australia's primary service delivery response to homelessness. SAAP is a jointly funded Australian Government and state/territory program which assists people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless (including women and children escaping domestic violence) to achieve the maximum possible degree of self-reliance and independence through a range of support and transitional accommodation services. The Australian Government has a policy leadership role and state/territory governments are responsible for the day-to-day management of the program.

The Reconnect program uses community-based early intervention services to bring about family reconciliation for young people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and their families. Reconnect helps these young people improve their level of engagement with family, work, education, training and their local community. Reconnect breaks the cycle of homelessness, which can begin at an early age, by providing counselling, mediation and practical support to the whole family. Reconnect providers also 'buy in' services to target individual needs of clients, such as specialised mental health services.

Youth Pathways is an Australian Government program aimed at assissting the most at-risk young people make a successful transition through to completion of year 12 (or its equivalent) and ultimately, to further education, training or employment and active participation in the community.

Non-government programs:

The Unity Foundation Homelessness Program provides a family home and environment for homeless Indigenous Youth.   Unity Foundation currently has two houses in the Bayside and Peninsula regions of Melbourne with a third in Chelsea to be built when funding has been acquired. The program provides support, leadership and direction to homeless indigenous youth aged between 15-22 years, encouraging them to become role models to their family and friends.

The Melbourne City Mission has been working across Melbourne and Victoria for over 155 years.  It is an organisation of over 70 different programs and services, supporting hundreds of communities and thousands of people each week. Their services include; Homeless ShelterHomeless SupportYouth ServicesEducation SupportChildren's ServicesDisability SupportEmployment ServicesAcquired Brain Injury Support and more.

Miller Foyer Pilot Project

The Foyer model helps young rural people to establish themselves without the need to relocate to cities far away from their support networks. The pilot Miller Foyer on the Miller Live 'N' Learn Campus near Liverpool, developed by the South West Sydney Region of the NSW Department of Housing, was the first attempt by any social housing agency in Australia to develop a Foyer in Australia and, as such represented a prototype for the accommodation for homeless and vulnerable youth that could be replicated widely across Australia. Download the report, Evaluating the Miller Foyer Pilot Project from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) website. (Extract from Youth Field Xpress, September 2006; sources: Australian Policy Online; and Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, links viewed 14 January 2009.)


Parity is the leading journal on homelessness issues in Australia with approximately 800 subscribers and is the key and most substantial regular publication of the Council for Homeless Persons.
Parity aims to extend and expand the understanding of homelessness through the provision of information, and the generation of discussion and debate on homelessness issues.

Getting Out

Getting Out is aimed at enhancing the capacity of young people to make an educated transition to independent living through raising awareness of careers and employment, education, accommodation, transport, budgeting, safe partying, stress management and social activity opportunities.
This guide is a joint initiative of the Eyre Regional Health Services, Lower Eyre Health Services, Eastern Eyre Health and Aged Care, MidWest Health Services and the Department of Education and Children's Services through the Futures Connect Strategy in the Eyre Peninsula.


Youth Studies Australia back issues and articles

If you are a subscriber to the electronic version of Youth Studies Australia, you can access all back issues of YSA that are online on this website.

Back issues and articles are also available for purchase at the following rates:

Back issues

From last 12 months $22.00 each including GST and postage
Prior to last 12 months $11.00 each including GST and postage


Provided as PDFs (or photocopies if electronic copy is unavailable).

$5.50 including GST, and postage if applicable.

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For further information, and prices outside Australia, contact ACYS:
Ph: +61 3 6226 2591
Fax: +61 3 6226 2578
Email: [email protected]

Moving on: Young people and substance abuse, by Kathryn Daley and Chris Chamberlain
v.28, n.4, 2009, pp.35-43. Summary | Full text | PDF

The real cost of linking homeless young people to employment, education and training, by Robyn Broadbent
v.27, n.3, pp.30-38.

Youth homelessness 2006, by  David MacKenzie & Chris Chamberlain
Youth Studies Australia, v.27, n.1, pp.17-25. Summary | Full text | PDF

Independence, individualism and connection among share householders, by Kristin Natalier
v.26, n.1, 2007, pp.17-24.

Photovoice: Promising practice in engaging young people who are homeless, by Matt Dixon and Morgan Hadjialexiou.
v.24, n.2, 2005, pp.52-56.

Youth homelessness: Four policy proposals, by Chris Chamberlain and David McKenzie.
v.24, n.2, 2005, pp.32-38.

Homeless youth in the country: Exploring options for change, by Jane Farrin, Maureen Dollard and Brian Cheers.
v.24 n.3, 2005, pp.31-36.

Mental health services: What young people who are homeless say, by Matt Dixon and Sian Lloyd.
v.24 n.3, 2005, pp.24-30.

13 days and counting: A mutual support model for young, homeless women in crisis, by Rosemary Green, Robyn Mason and Alison Ollerenshaw.
v.23, n.2, 2004, pp.46-50.

How many homeless youth in 2001? by Chris Chamberlain and David MacKenzie.
v.22, n.1, 2003, pp.18-24.
(follow-up to previous article in Youth Studies Australia, 2002, v.21, n.4, pp.24-31. Available in full text online as a PDF (348 k) or as web text .

The Second National Census of Homeless School Students, by David MacKenzie and Chris Chamberlain.
v.21, n.4, 2002, pp.24-31. Available in full text online as a PDF (232 k) or as web text.

Providing services to homeless young people in Melbourne, by Shelley Mallett, Doreen Rosenthal and Paul Myers
v.20, n.4, 2001, pp.26-33.

Disadvantaged and homeless youth on the Gold Coast: A case study of a human services organisation, by M. Hyde, J. Goldman and M. Sinclair
v.20, n.2, 2001, pp.40-45.

The education of homeless youth in Australia: An overview of the issues, by J.D.G. Goldman and L.D. La Castra.
v.19, n.2, 2000, pp.43-49.

Flight, enmeshment, circus and Australian youth, by P.A. Danaher and G. Danaher.
v.19, n.1, 2000, pp.26-30.

Sexual health service provision to the young and homeless, by L. Harrison and D. Dempsey.
v.17, n.3, 1998, pp.26-35.

The educational experiences of homeless teenage girls on Australia's Gold Coast, by J.D.G. Goldman and L. La Castra.
v.17, n.3, 1998, pp.20-25.

A foot in the door: Expectations for the future of homeless young adults, by M. Horn.
v.17, n.3, 1998, pp.12-19.

Homeless young people in Australian children's fiction: 1991-1995, by M. Crago.
v.16, n.3, 1997, pp.36-46.

The Questacon-Myer Project: Science for street kids, by J. Codling.
v.16, n.3, 1997, pp.31-35.

The search for a feminism that could accommodate homeless young women, by K. Crinall.
v.14, n.3, 1995, pp.42-47.

Sounds of the Street: An inner city program using creative musical experience, by P. Nunn.
v.14, n.3, 1995, pp.25-27.

Inquiring into youth homelessness, by B. Ellis and R. Fopp.
v.14, n.1, 1995, pp.36-40.

Noticed but not understood: Homeless youth at school, by Y. Symons and R. Smith.
v.14, n.1, 1995, pp.29-35.

The National Census of Homeless School Students, by D. MacKenzie and C. Chamberlain.
v.14, n.1, 1995, pp.22-28.

Mental health problems faced by young homeless people in NE Melbourne, by A. Fuller, J. Krupinska, O. Krupinska, R. Pawsey and V. Sant.
v.13, n.2, 1994, pp.31-35.

Conflict and homeless youth, by G. Stuart.
v.13, n.2, 1994, pp.27-30.

More heat than houses! Housing and young people - the debate to date, by R. Fopp.
v.12, n.2, 1993, pp.45-50.

Streetkids to schoolkids: Education as a solution to homelessness, by B. Corbitt.
v.12, n.2, 1993, pp.38-44.

Perspectives on a journey to independent living, by C. Ringma, S. Jeanneret and C. Brown.
v.12, n.1, 1993, pp.51-57.

Shelter in crisis: Providing emergency accommodation services for young people with intellectual disabilities, by R. Underwood, R. Jackson and M. Lee.
v.12, n.1, 1993, pp.48-50.

Homelessness Agencies Resource Project, by R. Pawsey and A. Fuller.
v.12, n.1, 1993, pp.45-47.

HIV and harm reduction for homeless youth, by R. Rogers.
v.11, n.4, 1992, pp.23-27.

How many homeless youth?, by D. MacKenzie and C. Chamberlain.
v.11, n.4, 1992, pp.14-22.

Youth theory: Marx or Foucault - response to 'Reassessing Street Kids' (v.11 n.2), by H. Sercombe.
v.11, n.3, 1992, pp.51-54.

Reassessing street kids: A critique of subculture theory, by G. Tait.
v.11, n.2, 1992, pp.12-17, by (See also previous article).

Getting homeless youth into employment and training - a Queensland pilot project, by, p. Wildman and M. Stokes.
v.9, n.3, 1990, pp.36-42.

Press coverage of the Burdekin Report, by R. Fopp
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies'.
v.8, n.4, 1989, pp.10-12.

Homeless young people: A psychological study, by P. Turley
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies', 1988 v.7 n.3, pp.23-27.

Review article: Young people leaving home in Australia: The trend toward independence, by C. Young
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies', 1988 v.7 n.1, pp.39-42.

The Young Homeless Allowance: Time for review, by R. Hartley and F. Maas
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies', 1988 v.7 n.1, pp.33-38.

Youth housing needs: Housing questions?, by E. Morgan and C. Vincent
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies', 1987 v.6 n.4, pp.21-23.

Homeless youth and street kids: Problems and programs, by S. Gokhale
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies', 1987 v.6 n.4, pp.15-20.

Youth housing: Prerequisites for planning, by R. Fopp
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies', 1987 v.6 n.1, pp.12-19.

The Young Homeless Allowance: A review, by R. Fopp
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies', 1986 v.5 n.3, pp.2-6.

Housing and young people's outreach: An adjunct to shelters, by I. McDivett
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies', 1986 v.5 n.2, pp.36-38.