Supported Accommodation Assistance Program helps 15,000 clients every day

The Commonwealth-State governments' Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) assists around 15,000 clients on any given day according to preliminary 1998-99 estimates released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The Program provides support and accommodation for people in crisis.

In 1998-99, 54% of SAAP clients were women. Approximately 40% of all clients were between 15 and 25 years of age, while only 8% of clients were aged 50 or more.

In almost 50% of cases, relationship breakdown or family conflict was cited as the main reason for seeking assistance.

  • In agencies targeting young people, the main reason most frequently given was relationship or family breakdown (25%).
  • In agencies targeting single men, financial difficulty (26%) and substance abuse (18%) were most commonly given as main reasons.
  • Domestic violence was cited as the main reason for seeking assistance in 14% of cases for agencies targeting families; 19% for those targeting single women, and 70% for agencies targeting women escaping domestic violence.
  • People using agencies targeting families or targeting a range of groups most commonly gave financial difficulty or eviction as main reasons (36% combined).

In agencies for single men, accommodation services were provided in 92% of support periods, compared to 66% in agencies targeting young people.

Two-thirds of support periods in agencies for women escaping domestic violence involved counselling services. Counselling services were provided in only 16% of support periods in agencies for single men.

Nearly 89,000 people received support and/or accommodation under the SAAP program in 1998-99. This figure is below the 94,000 clients assisted in 1997-98, but above the 83,000 clients assisted in 1996-97.

Falls were observed in all jurisdictions except the Northern Territory, where there was a slight rise.

Head of the SAAP National Data Collection Agency at the AIHW, Mr Justin Griffin, said that although the number of clients assisted had fallen, there was some evidence that more support was being given to these clients.

'Our preliminary estimates indicate a marginal increase in the number of support periods per client, and a very slight shift towards longer support periods.'


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