Homelessness often occurs from the culmination of several life factors including unemployment, poverty, and family breakdown, and can be defined as ‘inadequate access to safe and secure housing’ that results in: damage to the person’s health; threats to the person’s safety; marginalisation of the person minimising access to personal amenities, economic participation and social support; or places the person at risk of safe, secure, adequate and affordable housing (Baldry et al 2013, Homelessness Australia 2014). Unemployment, poverty and the inability to afford adequate housing are central to the causes of homelessness (Baldry et al 2013, Homelessness Australia 2014). Further, the homeless are socially isolated and living on the margins of society prior to periods of homelessness (Baldry et al 2013, Homelessness Australia 2014). Additionally, homelessness impacts the disenfranchised (Baldry et al 2013, Homelessness Australia 2014, Young 1992) and vulnerable, for example, although aboriginal people compose only 2% of the Australian population they make up 20% of those receiving housing assistance or in homeless population (Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission 2008).
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