Homelessness in regional Australia: The shocking new statistics

0:00

People sleeping rough on busy streets make the headlines, but 60% of Australia’s homeless population live in regional and rural communities.

Watch the video above to learn more about Australia's regional homelessness crisis. 

Tamworth, in North East New South Wales, has some of the richest farming land in Australia, yet some of the poorest postcodes. The number of homeless people in these parts has doubled in the past five years.

“I don't believe that people understand the problems that we have with homelessness in regional Australia,” says Tanya Rogers, manager of Tamworth Family Support service.  

Homelessness in this region is well above the state average and many say it’s at the forefront of a hidden homeless crisis.

Tamworth
The old stage for the Tamworth Country Music Festival is home for Mick and Cocko.
SBS

“There is a lack of support and housing for single men, we have five properties that we can support men, or men with children, but we get so many more requests from that.”

‘Cocko’ is living proof of Tamworth’s problem. “You don't see women homeless ‘cause they get help. For us blokes, the older you get, the harder it is to get a place,” he says.

There has to be somewhere in between becoming homeless and going to jail.

Cocko’s mate Mick chimes in, “There has to be somewhere in between becoming homeless and going to jail.”

But the problem - or "crisis" as some service providers are calling it - doesn't only concern older homeless men. The rate of homeless young people is rising at an alarming rate. In the last decade, the number of homeless people aged 19-24 has increased by 46% Australia-wide. In NSW that figure is 117%.

As the cost of housing in Australia increases, young people are the group most likely to be costed out of the market.