Mission Australia conducted its 20th annual Youth Survey, between April and August 2021, a period when parts of Australia were in or were emerging from government enforced lockdowns. 20,207 responses were received from young people aged 15 to 19 years located around the country, with the vast majority completing the survey online.

Mission Australia’s report reveals that almost one in 20 (4.8%) of respondents to the 2021 Youth Survey reported experiencing homelessness for the first time during the pandemic. Of these three in five were females. This was a significant increase from the 2017 rate of 3.9% with almost one in 25 young people had recently been pushed into homelessness for the first time.

Although this is a small group of 956 individuals, the survey results paint a worrying picture of these young people. The report brings these young people’s experiences to light, by drawing on quantitative data to show the prevalence of first-time youth homelessness during the COVID-19 period.It provides insights into the risk factors for first-time youth homelessness in this group and provides an overview of their mental health and housing situation.

Moving forward from the pandemic period, the issues and concerns raised in this report highlight the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to ending youth homelessness.

Download the Summary and Full reports here.