Homelessness services

Experiencing or at-risk of homelessness

This page provides quick links to practical supports for those currently experiencing homelessness.

Homeless support resource information(PDF, 156KB)

Register for housing

If you are unable to access or maintain other forms of accommodation like private rental, you may be eligible to register for public and community housing. Please note that public and community housing is not emergency accommodation.

Register for housing

State Government Links

Home Seeker SA

Emergency accommodation

Eligibility for crisis accommodation for you and your family will depend on your circumstances. Crisis response services provide assistance for your immediate safety and security.

They are confidential, however, where there is a legitimate reason, guidelines allow for information sharing without your consent, to help keep you, your children and others safe.

If you require emergency accommodation, call the number’s below:

Homeless Connect SA on 1800 003 308 (24 hours)

Toward Home Alliance 1800 809 273 (Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm)

For those able to travel to the Adelaide CBD, The Hutt Street Centre provides a range of support services.

Shower and laundry

Christies Beach S.A.F.E. Centre – Shower and laundry facilities are available by appointment. Call 7200 5611 to make a booking.

Domestic violence

The Yellow Gate, Noarlunga Centre – The domestic violence prevention and recovery support services hub for women - phone 1300 564 164

National domestic, family and sexual violence counselling service  - 1800 737 732 (1800 RESPECT)

Men's Referral Service - 1300 766 491

Aboriginal Family Violence Gateway - Free call 24/7 1300 782 200

Women’s Safety Services SA Crisis Line - 1800 800 098

Legal services

For free legal advice contact the Legal Services Commission of SA.

The Commission seeks to give all South Australians equal access to justice through the legal system, providing free legal information, legal advice and legal education to all.

To those most in need, legal representation is also provided, principally in the areas of criminal law and family law, including child support and child protection.

Southern Community Justice Centre
Offering free, confidential legal advice through a team of five practicing solicitors, a family advocate, mental health worker and highly experienced support staff.
Phone 1300 850 650
Website https://www.communityjusticesa.org.au/southern/

Legal services commission SA
Helpline 1300 366 424
Website http://www.lsc.sa.gov.au/

Drug and alcohol services

Uniting Communities - (08) 8202 5010 - 107 Dyson Rd, Christies Beach, SA 5165

DASSA - 1300 131 340

Know your options - 1300 131 340 

Digital assistance

Our libraries offer a range of services for those who need help. Whether you need to charge your phone, access your banking, print important documents or make a call to support services, our friendly library staff are here to help. 

Visit our libraries page


Supporting people affected by homelessness

Homelessness is a whole of community issue that requires a whole of community response. The City of Onkaparinga is partnering with Toward Home, an Alliance of Specialist Homelessness Services, to provide improved outreach services to those who are homeless in our area.

If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness or is at-risk of homelessness there is a range of services that can help.

What can I do if I see someone sleeping outside?

If you see someone sleeping or living outside on the street, you can call the Toward Home Alliance 1800 809 273 (Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm) or Homeless Connect SA on 1800 003 308 (24 hours).

You can refer someone you think is homeless to trained and experienced outreach workers from Toward Home. Only refer someone you’ve seen in the last 24 hours. Outreach workers won’t remove bedding or other possessions that have been left and do not force people to move on.

If the person looks unwell, please call an ambulance on 000 so that they can complete a medical assessment.

What can I do to help?

There are practical ways that residents can help. Donations to not-for-profit organisations or volunteering time are both great ways to support the local community homelessness initiatives.

See the Volunteering SA/NT website for volunteering opportunities in the Onkaparinga region.

Learn more about homelessness 

Homelessness is a complex and multi-faceted issue that impacts all of community. People experiencing homelessness, and those at risk of homelessness, are among Australia’s most socially and economically disadvantaged.

According to The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a person can be considered homeless if their current living situation:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
  • does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations.

Mackenzie and Chamberlain (1992) recognises the diversity of homelessness by categorising homelessness:

  • Primary homelessness is experienced by people without conventional accommodation (e.g. sleeping outside or in improvised dwellings);
  • Secondary homelessness is experienced by people who frequently move from one temporary shelter to another (e.g. emergency accommodation, youth refuges, 'couch surfing')
  • Tertiary homelessness is experienced by people staying in accommodation that falls below minimum community standards (e.g. boarding housing and caravan parks).

The definition coined by Mackenzie and Chamberlain was adopted by the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness in 2001 and is widely used in the homelessness sector.

How do people become homeless?

There are a range of factors that contribute to a person becoming homeless. This can include financial insecurity, loss of employment, injury or disability, mental ill health, substance abuse issues or gambling addiction. People experiencing homelessness can be affected by one or more of these factors.

We recognise that homelessness is a whole of community issue that requires a whole of community response. In order to deal with the complex issues driving people to become homeless, a collaborative approach between multiple different sectors is needed.

In addition to the social issues listed above, limited development of social housing and the increased cost of living have contributed to the creation of the 'new vulnerable'. Increasingly, services are reporting that full time workers and double income families need support. 

Changing the perception of homelessness.

There are several myths surrounding homelessness, many of these are influenced by negative bias. Some may view people experiencing homelessness as anti-social misfits, or have drug or alcohol addiction. While there is a percentage of people who struggle with addiction or mental health issues, it’s important to remember that stereotyping those affected by homelessness only enforces these negative biases. No one should be written off because of their struggles.

Language matters

People who work in the homelessness sector prefer to use ‘person-first’ language. The terms 'person experiencing homelessness' or 'person affected by homelessness' are preferred over things like 'the homeless' or 'homeless people'. Person-first language serves to remind us that there is a human being at the centre. Terms like 'the homeless' creates a barrier to empathy by removing someone’s humanity.

Homelessness and trauma

Australian studies, compiled by the Sacred Heart Mission, have found that between 91% and 100% of people affected by homelessness had experienced at least one major trauma in their lives. This has serious implications on how we should approach homelessness as a community. Exhorting authority and moving people on are two traditional approaches that we know do not work in the long term.

Trauma has far-reaching and long-lasting effects on how people think and behave. People who experience homelessness are subject to long-term, high-stress situations. This impacts how a person thinks as they are in a constant state of 'fight or flight'. This can create a perception of danger or a distrust toward authority or support services.

Community connection

People experiencing homelessness live in a paradox; they are socially isolated while at the same time living in the public. Studies by the Trauma Research Foundation discovered that trauma can be addressed with treatment in conjunction with connection to community. Connection to community fosters feelings of safety and belonging.

The City of Onkaparinga is partnering with homelessness alliances to deliver effective support services to those in need. Our Libraries, Community Centres and Recreation Centres offer a wide range of free or low-cost activities for those who wish to connect with others.