Preventing the criminalisation of homelessness

Homelessness is a complex issue that requires systems-level change.

We challenge and change laws that unfairly impact people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

See our campaigns

Illustration of woman of colour and her two sons

The risks of criminalising homelessness

Due to living their lives in public places, people experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable to interactions with police and enforcement officers, and are at a greater risk of being fined or charged. Since Justice Connect’s Homeless Law service started in 2001, fines and charges for poverty-related offences, including being drunk in public, begging and conduct on public transport, have remained a key area of legal need for homeless or at risk Victorians.

Over 116,000 Australians will experience homelessness tonight

How we’re helping stop the criminalisation of homelessness

As Victoria’s specialist free legal service for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, Justice Connect has spent 20 years holistically helping Victorians with poverty-related fines and charges, and we know that enforcement-based responses to homelessness don’t work.

Relying on the justice system to respond to homelessness entrenches disadvantage, compounds housing insecurity and creates a further burden on an already stretched justice system.

Do you need legal help?

Are you experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness? We can provide ongoing legal support on some areas of law.

Apply now

Takes less than 8 minutes
(4.4 star rating)

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Our stories about preventing the criminalisation of homelessness

Mother escapes homelessness and family violence

"When you’re not in the right frame of mind, you let the system beat you."

Read Maggie's story
Photograph of Justice Connect's Homeless Law client Maggie