Homelessness is when you haven't got a safe, stable place to live. People are homeless for heaps of different reasons. There are certain times when leaving home may involve state services, however there are a number of support services that can help you when you're homeless, and people you can talk to. There are also some things you can do to make it easier.

This might help if:

  • You're at risk of becoming homeless
  • You are homeless
  • You want to know what services are available for homelessness
teenager sleeping on a park bench

What's homelessness?

Homelessness is when you haven't got a safe place to stay. If you're without a home, you're not alone – there are 100,000 Australians in the same boat, and one third of them are between ages 12-25.

Levels of homelessness

There are levels of being homeless. Some people are plugging the gap – staying with friends or relatives, in temporary housing, or between different places. Others are in boarding houses, with little security. Some people sleep rough, in cars, parks, bus shelters, or squatting in empty houses. Others might live in caravan parks for financial reasons, or because they can't get a house.

What makes people homeless?

There are a bunch of different reasons people are homeless. Violence or abuse in the home sometimes makes it impossible to stay. Family breakdowns, money problems, illness, disability, gambling, drug problems or domestic violence can also contribute to a person being homeless.

When can I leave home?

  • You can basically leave home at any age if you have permission from your parents.
  • Once you are over 18, you can leave home even if you don’t have permission from your parents.
  • If you’re under 18 and don’t have permission from your parents to leave home, it is not against the law to leave home. However, if your parents report you as missing, then the police will have to investigate, and you may be asked to return home or be put into state care (foster care).

To find out more, check out the Lawstuff website for more info on your state.

Help with homelessness

You can get help if you're homeless, or look like you might be homeless soon. There are a number of services that can try to find you a place to stay, and give you advice about other stuff like money and work.

  • If you need a place to stay immediately, contact Lifeline on 131 114 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
  • The Tenants Union in your state might be able to help you if you've been kicked out of rental or community housing.
  • Centrelink can help cash-wise if there's a family breakdown. This involves interviews with you, your parents and a third person who knows what's going on, like a teacher or doctor. Centrelink can also try to hook you up with emergency accommodation.
  • You can also explain your situation to your work, uni or school and get special consideration, or extra time to study.

Dealing with homelessness 

It's not easy being homeless, but here are some tips that can help you out:

  • Stockpile cheap foods like noodles and rice 
  • Arrange to have dinner with a friend or family member regularly if you can.
  • Keep in contact with your friends and trusted family members 
  • Make sure someone knows where you are and that you’re safe. 
  • Access the internet for free at most libraries and youth centres.

Who to talk to

Find someone you can talk to who can help you with whatever you’re going through, whether that’s a friend, family member, teacher or counsellor. The services below are also a good place to start.


Centrelink Appointments 
13 10 21

Reconnect (for young people age 12-18) 

Homelessness Australia 
(02) 6247 7744


Youth Accommodation Association Vacancy Line
24 hour service - toll free outside the Sydney Metro region
9318 1531 OR 1800 424 830  

A full list of NSW based accommodation services can be found on the NSW Family & Community Services website 


Trace-a-Place (HPYA - Helping Young People Achieve) 
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
1300 306 046 or 1800 807 364 (free call)

Crisis Care
13 16 11 (24 hrs)

A full list of SA accommodation services can be found on the South Australian Government website


Department of Communities- Homelessness
1800 47 47 53 or 1800 010 222 (TTY Service)

Crisis Care
5pm to 9am, Monday to Friday, Weekends - all day
07 3225 1573 OR 1800 642 902 (free call)

A full list of QLD accommodation services can be found on the Queensland Government website


St Kilda Crisis Contact Centre
10:00 am to 12 midnight, seven days a week
(03) 9536 7777 OR 1800 627 727 (toll free for country Victoria).

Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service
24 Hour Service
(03) 9373 0123 OR 1800 015 188 (Toll Free)

A full list of VIC accommodation services can be found on the Department of Human Services website 


Crisis Care
08 9325 1111 OR 1800 199 008


Youth Accommodation Services- Alice Springs
08 8953 4200


PASS- Placement and Support Service
1800 24 32 32

Linkzone has a full list of accommodation services in Tasmania 

What can I do now?