Homelessness and how to find support

In the veteran community, specialist homelessness services agencies assisted almost 1,400 people in 2019-20 who identified as current or former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).* Risk factors of homelessness can include:

  • mental health issues (including trauma experienced during service)
  • unemployment and financial difficulties
  • relationship breakdowns
  • substance abuse issues

There is no one reason for someone to experience homelessness, and it doesn’t affect just one type of person.

The definition of homeless is not straightforward either. It’s not only determined by being without a roof over your head. It can also mean, not having a 'home' - security, stability, privacy, safety, and control.

Not knowing what support services are available can also lead to homelessness. In the Navy, Army and Air Force, there is access to a whole range of support services, including housing and financial support. After serving in the ADF, veterans often need to discover where to access support, and how to manage, as a civilian. 

Former ADF personnel and their families are able to access a range of services to support them with housing issues. Open Arms provides counselling to anyone who has served at least one day in the ADF, and their families. This can include support in linking eligible clients to appropriate specialist housing and homelessness services. 

In crisis situations, Open Arms can also provide support for crisis accommodation. Our Crisis Accommodation Program allows someone to pause, be in a safe location, and creates a period of time for management of factors contributing to the crisis situation. Any person who is eligible for Open Arms services can access the program. 

Our Crisis Accommodation Program provided over 2,000 nights of accommodation in the past year (July 2020-June 2021). This included over 250 nights of support in specialist domestic and family violence crisis accommodation. 

Contact Us

If you or someone you know needs support, please call Open Arms on 1800 011 046 for free and confidential 24/7 support. You can also find the available homelessness support services here.

It’s Homelessness Week from 1-7 August 2021, raising awareness of homelessness in Australia, and the 116,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night. Find out more here.

*Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Annual Report 2019-20 — AIHW December 2020 Report