Extreme Weather Makes Homelessness Even Worse. Here’s How We Can Help

A new study has revealed how extreme weather deepens the cycle of homelessness, writes Danielle Every from Central Queensland University and Australian Red Cross national resilience adviser John Richardson, in this article which first appeared in The Conversation.

The images of Hurricane Harvey in Texas have shown how extreme weather can rob people of their homes. But what about those who have no home to begin with, or whose living situation is already precarious?

Almost one-third of people who have been homeless have suffered extra trauma because of extreme weather, according to our research involving 163 homeless services in Australia and New Zealand.

What’s more, 19 per cent of people in our study cited extreme weather as a factor in their clients becoming homeless in the first place.

Our study, carried out on behalf of the Australian Attorney-General’s Department and published by the Australian Red Cross, featured surveys, interviews and focus groups involving people with experience of homelessness.

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