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Although around 14,000 people with immediate housing needs were
able to be accommodated through the Supported Accommodation
Assistance Program (SAAP) on an average day in 2006-07, more than
350, over half of them under the age of 20, were turned away,
according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of
Health and Welfare.
'While homeless shelters help large numbers of people who need a
place to stay each day, not everyone who needs a place is able to
get one', said Felicity Murdoch of the Institute's Homelessness and
Housing Analysis Unit.
'To give some perspective, the 368 people who couldn't be
accommodated represent 3% of the total expressed demand for SAAP
accommodation on an average day', she said.
'But there is also the reality that on any given day only 43% of
all new requests for accommodation were successful.'
The report, Demand for SAAP accommodation by homeless people
2006-07: summary, shows that some groups have more difficulty
in getting a place to stay than others.
Family groups, for example, were more likely to be turned away
than single people.
'One of the possible reasons for this is that once families do
receive accommodation, they tend to stay longer than individuals,
which means the accommodation that is appropriate for families is
in use and therefore unavailable for other families in need,' Ms
'The evidence we have on patterns of supply and demand for
different groups suggests that there are more complex factors
affecting access to accommodation.'
'For example, the length of time people stay once accommodated
has an impact, as does the tendency for people to give up quickly
if unsuccessful in obtaining accommodation. And not all people who
are homeless seek SAAP accommodation - but they might if the
likelihood of getting accommodation was higher.'
The Supported Accommodation Assistance Program is a major part
of the Australian Government's overall response to homelessness,
and represents a broader social safety net designed to help people
Every year, in addition to gathering data on other aspects of
its operations, the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program
conducts surveys of people turned away from SAAP-funded
accommodation. These survey results are analysed by the Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare, which is the lead agency in
producing SAAP statistical reports.
Friday 10 October 2008
Further information: Felicity Murdoch, AIHW,
tel. 02 6244 1018; mob. 0407 915 851.
For media copies of the report: Publications
Officer, AIHW, tel. 61 2 6244 1032.
Availability: Check the AIHW Publications
Catalogue for the availability of Demand for SAAP
accommodation by homeless people 2006-07 and Demand for SAAP
accommodation by homeless people 2006-07: summary.