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During 2015–16 people aged 55 or older comprised 8% of all clients (21,610 people) of specialist homelessness services. Specialist homelessness service use by this group is increasing quickly with numbers up 44% since the collection began in 2011–12 and growing at over twice the rate (18%) of the general SHS population.
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Since the beginning of the SHS collection in 2011–12 the number of older clients seeking assistance from specialist homelessness services has increased at a greater rate than other age groups. Key trends identified in this client population over the 5 years are:
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2011–12 to 2015–16.
of older clients were female in 2015–16, similar to 2014–15
older clients (66%) were aged 55–64 and the remaining one-third was 65 or over.
of Indigenous clients were aged over 55 compared with 9% of non-Indigenous clients.
were living alone.
of older clients sought assistance primarily because of a housing crisis.
Other services most commonly needed by older clients were for:
All these services were requested at lower rates than the general SHS population (assistance to sustain tenancy or prevent tenancy failure or eviction 33%, material aid/brokerage 35%, short-term or emergency accommodation 38%).
Note: Excludes 'Other basic assistance', 'Advice/information', and 'Advocacy/liaison on behalf of client'.
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services 2015–16, National Supplementary Table OLDER.3 (729KB XLS).
While older clients most commonly ended their support in private or other housing (43%, or about 6,000), the proportion of older clients housed in public or community housing following support increased from 21% to 29% in 2015–16.
There was also a reduction in the proportion of older clients 'rough sleeping' (no shelter or improvised/ inadequate dwelling), falling from just over 1 in 10 clients (12%, or 1,700) at the commencement of support to 7% at the end (Figure OLDER.2).
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services 2015–16, National Supplementary Table OLDER.4 (729KB XLS).