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Learn About Homeless Shelters and the Experience of Living in One

Learn About Homeless Shelters and the Experience of Living in One

Homelessness has become a real crisis in Australia today. When you think of a homeless person, an older man, or perhaps an alcoholic or drug addict comes to mind. Surprisingly it is mostly the younger people that are homeless, and in Australia, a third of the homeless are below 18 years old.

Australia has several homeless non-government organizations, including homeless food services. The government is trying to eliminate homelessness with the help of private organizations.


What Is Homelessness?

In Australia, a person is considered homeless if:

●    Safe and adequate housing is not available to them.

●    They are in a situation where their accommodation is neither secure nor affordable.

●    They have no legal right over where they live.


How Homeless Shelters Work

A homeless shelter is a temporary accommodation for homeless people. While some shelters provide food, water, and necessities, others only offer a place to stay. Homeless people can only stay for a limited period and must move to more permanent accommodation.

Homeless shelters rely on funding from philanthropic individuals and charitable organizations. Some shelters also receive money from the government. Based on the level of funding, homeless shelters scale their operations.


How to Find the Nearest Homeless Shelter

If you become homeless or are likely to become homeless, you can refer to this Homelessness Service Provider Directory created and maintained by the South Australian Housing Authority. The directory provides toll-free numbers that you can call about homelessness.

The directory also details homeless services under different categories like families, young people, adults, and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.


What to Expect in a Homeless Shelter

Common Sleeping Area or Dormitory

Although privacy isn’t a priority in a homeless shelter, a clean bed with adequate bedding can be guaranteed. Sometimes, when beds aren’t possible, only a mat is provided.


Common bathrooms are the norm. A resident would be expected to share bathroom facilities with others in the shelter properly.

Dining Room

There is usually a dining room where meals are served. There would be timings for homeless food services.

Food is prepared in a common kitchen by employees or volunteers. The menu depends on the funds available. The food is basic but nutritious. Some shelters have adopted a community potluck system wherein members cook food and bring it to the shelter.

Shelter Timings

Most homeless shelters have strict timings for new admissions. A person seeking admission, even for the night, would need to come in by a particular time. The shelter would be locked up for the night for security purposes. Residents would only be allowed to leave the shelter in the morning.


Not all homeless shelters and family support services are free. Some charge a nominal fee, although the payment might always be requested in cash.


Summing It Up

Homelessness is a worldwide issue, and countries like the United States and Australia have a fair share of homeless people. Although governments and private organizations are trying to combat homelessness, it is an uphill task.

We hope that by reading this post, you now have a better insight into homelessness and what it means to live in a homeless shelter or avail of family support services.

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