The Commonwealth-State governments' Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) assists around 16,500 clients on any given day, according to 1998-99 estimates released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The Program provides support and accommodation for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
In 1998-99, 54% of SAAP clients were women. Approximately 36% of all clients were between 15 and 25 years of age, while 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 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 16% of support periods in agencies for single men.
Nearly 91,000 people received support and/or accommodation under the SAAP program in 1998-99. This figure compares with 94,000 clients assisted in 1997-98, and the 83,000 clients assisted in 1996-97. These 91,000 people had about 163,000 support periods throughout the year.
Head of the SAAP National Data Collection Agency at the AIHW, Mr Justin Griffin, said that in 10% of cases clients reported having no income immediately before receiving support from SAAP agencies.
'However, this figure was much higher for young people-86% of those aged under 15 years, and 24% aged 15-19 years had no available income,' Mr Griffin said. 'In more than half of all cases (55%) clients were not in the labour force and in 36% they were unemployed and looking for work.'
In addition to accommodation and related support services, SAAP also provided one-off assistance to casual clients. In 1998-99, more than 1.3 million occasions of one-off assistance were provided by SAAP agencies to families and individuals.
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