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The rate of use of government-funded specialist homelessness services has increased in recent years, according to the latest annual report on homelessness released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

‘The overall use of services has increased from 1 in every 110 Australians (or 187,900 people) in 2006–07 to 1 in every 100 Australians (or 219,900 people) in 2009–10,’ said AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck.

Compared to past reports, there has been little change in recent years in the overall demographic profile of clients and their accompanying children.

The report, Government-funded specialist homelessness services: SAAP National Data Collection annual report 2009–10: Australia, shows that young women, children and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continued to be significant users of specialist homelessness services in 2009-10.

The highest rate of use by any one age group was by female clients aged 15–19 years (1 in every 51 people).

‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continued to use services at rates higher than non-Indigenous people,’ Mr Neideck said.

‘Over 20% of all service users were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, compared with around 2% of the Australian population.’

As the people using specialist homelessness services are diverse, the reasons they seek assistance also varied. The most common broad reasons for seeking assistance related to issues in interpersonal relationships, such as domestic or family violence; accommodation issues, such as being evicted; and financial issues, such as having insufficient money to pay for accommodation, food, bills or other essentials.

The report is accompanied by eight state and territory supplementary reports that include data specific to each state and territory and summaries of key results.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 3 June 2011

Further information: Mr Geoff Neideck, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1163, mob. 0439 878 933

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer 02 6244 1032

Full report: Government-funded specialist homelessness services: SAAP National Data Collection annual report 2009–10: Australia