13 Sep 2014

'Alarming' life expectancy for homeless

9:50 pm on 13 September 2014

A snapshot of Australia's homeless population has revealed the average life expectancy of people who live on the street is just 46 years - about the same life expectancy as for men in the world's poorest countries.

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Advocates say the average life expectancy for those living on the street is alarming. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Advocates for the homeless say the challenges of re-entering normal society for street dwellers are often insurmountable, the ABC reports.

Homelessness Australia chief executive Glenda Stevens said it was terrible that in a modern wealthy society, men living on the street have a shorter life expectancy than men in countries ravaged by poverty.

"For men who experience chronic homelessness across Australia, the average life expectancy is between about 45 and 47 years of age, which is an alarmingly young age for men in a country as wealthy as ours to die," she said.

"The average life expectancy for a man living in Somalia is actually 48.86 years... So if you're a man in Somalia, you can expect to live longer than a man experiencing chronic homelessness in Australia."

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