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About homelessness

It's not all sleeping rough

It’s common for people to think that all homeless people sleep on the streets. But rough sleeping, is only a small part of the problem of homelessness. Homelessness is about not having a home, which means having a sense of security, stability, privacy, safety and the ability to control your living space.

Couch surfing

When a young person becomes homeless (either because they have to leave home or their whole family becomes homeless) they might stay temporarily with friends, family or people they don’t know very well. This is often called ‘couch surfing’ which might sound harmless, but in reality you don’t have your own space, privacy or security and it can also be dangerous.

Most young people who are homeless are living in a ‘severely overcrowded’ house and often that means having to crash on the couch or the floor, or sharing a bedroom. A severely overcrowded house is one that needs four or more extra bedrooms to house everyone living there properly.

Other places homeless people stay

Young people not couch surfing might find emergency accommodation in refuges, government-funded transitional housing, rooming houses, hostels or motels. Some young people who become homeless might have to sleep rough in squats, cars or public spaces for a period of time.