Homelessness is more than houselessness

Homelessness does not just mean sleeping rough on the streets. Three categories of homelessness were adopted by the Commonwealth Advisory Committe on Homelessness in 2001 and are widely used by the homelessness sector in Australia.

Primary homelessness includes all people without a ‘roof over their head’. This means people who are living on the streets, sleeping in parks, squatting in derelict buildings, or using cars or trains as temporary shelter.

Secondary homelessness includes people who frequently move from one type of shelter to another. This includes people living in homelessness services or hostels, people staying with other households who have no home of their own, and people staying in boarding houses for 12 weeks or less.

Tertiary homelessness refers to people who live in boarding houses on a medium- to long-term basis (more than 13 weeks), who live in accommodation that does not have ‘self-contained facilities’ (for example, they don't have their own bathroom or kitchen), and who don’t have the security provided by a lease. These people are homeless because their accommodation does not have the characteristics identified in the minimum community standard for housing.