During Homelessness Week (August 1-7) Mission Australia is urging all homeless Australians, including the ‘hidden homeless’, to participate in 9 August Census and make their answers count so the severity of the issue is adequately represented.

Five years ago, the 2011 Census revealed 105,000 people across Australia were without a safe, permanent place to call home, with more than 105,000 people identifying as homeless nationwide.

Mission Australia CEO, Catherine Yeomans say they expect that number to rise in 2016.

Anecdotally we are seeing more homeless people present to our services, and localised surveys like the City of Sydney rough sleepers count shows a continuing rise,

Ms Yeomans said.

“Moreover, we don’t believe census data reflects the true extent of homelessness due to the transient nature of homeless people. Many homeless people remain invisible, couch surfing or living in temporary shelters, and not getting get picked up by the census data. Many people who are homeless are simply are not aware of the upcoming Census, accessibility may be an issue, or they may misrepresent their housing situation on the form. All of which contribute to the homeless population undercount.

“We need to more accurate data to demonstrate the necessity for adequate funding for homelessness services in and throughout Australia.”

Mission Australia is supporting Homelessness Australia’s campaign to ensure service users are aware of the upcoming census.

“We need to know current statistics. Census 2016 is imperative to understand exactly how many people are without a home nationwide. We all must do our bit to make sure everyone participates. Mission Australia staff will be working with our clients to ensure no one slips through the cracks. Whether they are rough sleepers, using our services or living in Mission Australia Housing accommodation, we will encourage all get involved.”

It is also important that Australians report their living situation correctly. If a person is without a home on Census night, they must record their suburb as ‘None’. This applies to rough sleepers as well as the ‘hidden homeless’. The ‘hidden homeless’ population includes those who might be couch surfing, living in someone’s spare room or garage, staying in homeless, crisis or transitional accommodation or boarding houses or living in a severely crowded dwelling.

Ms Yeomans said:

If you are in this situation and have no usual address or place to call home on Census night, sure to include your suburb as ‘None’. The more people who know of this requirement, the more accurate the final count will be.


Subscribe for the latest news

Related media releases

Read about what we’ve been working on, our stance on important social issues and how you make a difference to vulnerable Australians' lives.

Our founding purpose - 'Inspired by Jesus Christ, Mission Australia exists to meet human need and to spread the knowledge of the love of God'