New Census figures on homelessness a big issue

Fortnightly street magazine The Big Issue is addressing the new Census numbers on homelessness and housing in the latest edition of the magazine, out on streets today.

The latest edition of The Big Issue magazine goes beyond the statistics to hear from the very people that these numbers represent, many of whom are street vendors of The Big Issue. Vendors have shared their experiences of homelessness and the realities of sleeping rough or staying in boarding houses, temporary accommodation and shelters.

The latest Census of Population and Housing Figures from 2021 revealed that 122,494 people were estimated to be experiencing homelessness on Census night in 2021. This is a 5% increase in the number of Australians who don’t have a place to call home, up from 116,427 in 2016.

The Big Issue CEO Steven Persson is alarmed yet optimistic about the newest Census numbers.

“The increase in the number of Australians experiencing homelessness is staggering but not surprising. The impacts of the pandemic and the lack of social and affordable housing have undeniably contributed to the increased rates of homelessness in all forms, including rough sleeping, couch surfing and overcrowded dwellings.

“At The Big Issue we have seen tough times but also incredible resilience from our vendors and participants who are proudly working to improve their lives. Through our social enterprises we will continue to be a way for people experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage to make a positive change.”

Since 1996 The Big Issue magazine has provided opportunities for people experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage to find employment, earn a meaningful income, increase their confidence and reconnect with their communities. To date more than 7,500 vendors nationally have sold more than 14 million magazines and collectively earned $35 million.

Alongside the magazine The Big Issue has other social enterprise and programs that support those on the margins, including the Women’s Workforce, the Community Street Soccer Program and The Big Issue Classroom.

Readers can pick up the latest copy of The Big Issue from vendors on street corners around the country. Vendors purchase the magazine for $4.50 and sell to customers for $9, earning $4.50 with each sale. Vendors accept payments by cash, card or phone. Those who are not close to a vendor can take out a subscription here and support the Women’s Workforce who pack subscriber copies of the magazine.



Maree Agapitos, Media and Communications Lead (03) 9663 4533 | 0418 124 190

The Big Issue spokespersons and vendors are available for interview.

Download PDF