World Homeless Day 2021: A Human Rights Concern

October 10, 2021

Matthew Simons

A bed to sleep in, a hot shower and a home cooked meal. For many of us, these everyday luxuries are taken for granted. 

Unfortunately, the hard truth is that every night around one-in-215 Australians does not have a safe, secure or affordable place to sleep, and of these approximate 116,000 homeless Australians, one third will be under the age of 18.

Homelessness doesn’t discriminate. It can be triggered by a number of social, economic and health-related factors such as poverty, mental illness, family breakdown, sexual assault, domestic violence and addiction in the form of alcohol, drugs and gambling. For some, homelessness can be a lifelong struggle.

Under Australian Federal Law, homelessness is defined as ‘inadequate access to safe and secure housing’. Meaning that living on the streets, in a deserted building, in temporary shelters, sleeping in your car and even ‘couch surfing’ all come under the definition.

So, what can we do to make a difference?

The answer begins with better understanding of the struggles that so many homeless people encounter every day. World Homeless Day, falling annually on the 10th of October, provides us with that opportunity – to open a window to homelessness, to take the first steps to understanding, and to join a global movement for change.

We can provide support for World Homeless Day and for the fight to end homelessness by getting involved through fundraising for organisations involved in the cause, or volunteering at a local homeless shelter, or even by simply raising awareness by contacting your local or community media.

No-one should have to ‘sleep rough’, least of all children. In a country of such wealth as Australia, a clean warm bed is a basic human right.

If you would like to find out more on how you can get involved in the #WorldHomelessDay2021 campaign, visit the following link:

If this information raised any concerns for you, please do speak to your GP, they can help you back to good health, or call a helpline: LIFELINE 13 11 14, BeyondBlue 1300 22 4636 or 1800 RESPECT.


Article by
Matthew Simons