28 May 2018

We are not all the same: Exploring difference in young people's experiences of couch surfing versus sleeping rough

This article reports on preliminary research by the Brisbane Youth Service and Griffith Criminology Institute involving young couch surfers aged 12-25 in Brisbane to examine how these young people differ from other homeless young people. Young women were found to be significantly more likely to be couch surfing (70% of those couch surfing)) and less likely to be sleeping rough (40% of those sleeping rough). Many of these young women identified as  LGBTIQ. Couch surfing  young people were twice as likely to describe their mental health as ‘poor’ compared with young people sleeping rough. They also reported higher rates of suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviour.  Young people who were sleeping rough were more likely to identify their current substance use as a problem. The authors noted that these findings are similar to  international research that suggests a strong link between housing insecurity and ‘sexual exchange’.