About homelessness


What are the causes?

People of many ages and backgrounds experience homelessness. The main causes of homelessness include the critical shortage of affordable housing for those on a low income; unemployment and financial hardship.

Family violence is the most common reason for women accessing a homelessness service. Two thirds of children who access services accompany their mothers escaping family violence. The risk of homelessness is increased when people experience a sudden change in their circumstances. This could be the loss of a job, a sudden health crisis, a family member dies, they retire, a relationship ends or a baby is born. People with a mental health issue or problematic drug or alcohol use are more at risk of becoming homeless, as are those leaving an institution, including hospital, prison, child protection or a psychiatric service.

What are the consequences?

Homelessness is a traumatic experience. It puts extra strain on people’s relationships and on their mental and emotional health. Many who find themselves homeless have already endured significant stress apart from their housing – this may be long running financial hardship, domestic violence, the loss of a job or the breakdown of a relationship.

For many people the first point of call is family or friends. They move in with a family member who wants to help but may be struggling themselves. Overcrowding and relationship breakdowns can often result, leading to further trauma and heartache.

Homelessness makes it much harder for people to:

  • find or keep a job
  • keep in contact with friends and family
  • eat well and generally look after themselves
  • save money and resolve financial difficulties.

What are the solutions?

The best solution to homelessness is to address the causes and prevent people becoming homeless in the first place. This involves ensuring sufficient affordable housing, providing people with access to education, training and employment, preventing ill health and ensuring everyone has someone they can turn to at times of need.

Hanover has been providing housing and support to people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne for over 45 years including short term, medium and long term accommodation, support to rebuild people’s lives and assistance into education and employment. However, more can be done. We would like to be able to provide:

  • more long term housing for those with a high level of need
  • education and training for people who need help to get back into study and work
  • assistance to prevent people from becoming mentally ill as a result of homelessness.

Further information

To download factsheets about Hanover, children, families and homelessness, general homelessness, homelessness and its impact and housing affordability click here

To read more about our leading research into the causes and consequences of homelessness click here


Client Stories

People come to Hanover for many different reasons and from many diverse backgrounds. Please take time to read a few of their stories.

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