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Reducing youth homelessness

The NSW Government aims to increase the proportion of young people who successfully move from specialist homelessness services to long-term accommodation.

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Why is this important?

Too many of Australia’s homeless are young.

Being homeless can interrupt education and training, and have a negative effect on physical and mental health. Moving more young people from specialist homelessness services to long-term accommodation gives young people a solid foundation to start building their future.

In 2019-20 up to 43% of people in Australia assisted by homelessness services were under 24 years old. Up to 20% were aged between 15 and 24.

In 2019-20, 17,883 young people aged 15-24 years were helped by specialist homelessness services in NSW. Of these, 13,673 presented alone to a specialist homelessness service including 5,624 (41 per cent) who had been living in unstable housing, which means they were sleeping rough, living in boarding houses, motels or in crisis refuges, or couch surfing with family and friends.

Homelessness is incredibly complex.  Homelessness is more than having nowhere to live. Personal circumstances such as mental health, relationship breakdown and drug and alcohol misuse are often complicated by poverty, unemployment and unaffordable housing.

What are specialist homelessness services?

These government-funded services help people who are either experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness. Delivered by non-government organisations (NGOs), they include support and/or  accommodation for people who are homeless or at risk.  Specialist homelessness services also deliver services aimed at intervening early to prevent people from entering homelessness.

What is stable housing?

Stable housing is renting, or living rent-free, in private, public or community housing, which includes shared households.

How are we tracking?

In NSW in 2019-20, 5,624 young people aged 15-24 years needed specialist homelessness services, as they were living in unstable housing.

By the end of their support from these services, 2,108, or 37.5 per cent, were living in stable housing. From 2011 – 2012 to 2019 - 2020, there has been a 14 percentage point increase in the number of young people transitioning to stable accommodation, but there’s still more to be done.

Year Proportion of young people moving from SHS to stable accommodation
2011-12 23.3%
2012-13 24.9%
2013-14 29.3%
2014-15 30.2%
2015-16 31.7%
2016-17 31.3% 
2017-18 34.7%
2018-19 36.9% 
2019-20 37.5% 

Do you own property and want to help?

Real estate agents and landlords can help by partnering with local specialist homelessness services to provide long-term accommodation for young people.

To find a lead specialist homelessness service provider near you visit Find a specialist homelessness service.

Are you homeless?

Are you homeless or at risk of homelessness?


For more information

If you have any questions about specialist housing support for young people, email the homelessness team at or visit

Visit Housing and Homelessness programs for young people for more information about the programs and services available to assist young people at risk of homelessness.

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Last updated: 09 Apr 2024