7,500 homeless accommodated each day, but 315 adults, 200 kids, turned away

At least 7,500 Australians a day are accommodated under the Commonwealth-State governments' Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The program aims to assist people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including women and children escaping domestic violence.

The report, Demand for SAAP Assistance 2001-02, shows that the 1,286 SAAP agencies provided substantial help in the form of accommodation or other assistance to over 95,000 clients a year and 51,000 accompanying children.

But while 7,510 were accommodated each day, around 315 adults or children under 18 presenting independently of a parent or guardian, and 200 accompanying children requesting immediate accommodation, were turned away.

Acting Head of the SAAP National Data Collection Agency at the AIHW, Anne Giovanetti, said 'this is principally because by the end of an average day no accommodation was available.'

'On any given day, around 570 adults or children on their own request immediate SAAP accommodation. Of these, 315 were turned away without being accommodated. The chances of getting immediate accommodation are therefore less than 50%.'

'Meanwhile an average of 7,255 people continue their accommodation from the previous day and into the next day. People requesting immediate accommodation therefore made up only 7% of the total daily demand for accommodation, with 3% of those obtaining accommodation and 4% being turned away.'

Other findings from the report show that:

  • Nearly 90% of accompanying children were accompanying their mothers or a female guardian.
  • Couples without children and people with children were more likely to be turned away without being accommodated than people on their own.
  • SAAP agencies also provided over 2,500 people a day with one-off short-term assistance such as information or meals.

30 October 2003

Further information: Anne Giovanetti, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1206 or mobile 0407 915 851; or Justin Griffin, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1190.
Media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1032