Over half of homeless people requesting immediate accommodation turned away

On an average day, 58% of people requesting immediate accommodation from government-funded specialist homelessness agencies are turned away because no accommodation is available, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

‘However, if you consider the total demand for accommodation to be new requests plus those people already in emergency and crisis accommodation, then the new requests make up only 4% of the total demand, and around half of that 4% get accommodated,’ Mr Neideck said.

The report, People turned away from government-funded specialist homelessness accommodation 2009–10, shows that the level of turn-away in 2009–10 was similar to that reported in 2008–09.

Among people requiring new and immediate accommodation, family groups were most likely to be turned away—82% of couples with children, 69% of couples without children and 67% of individuals with children, compared with 45% of individuals without children.

‘A high proportion of women and young people were among those turned away from immediate accommodation—in 2009–10, 54% were female and 56% were aged under 20 years,’ Mr Neideck said.

‘A further 38% were aged 20–44, 6% were 45–64 years, and less than 1% were 65 years and over.’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were over-represented among those turned away—30% of people turned away were Indigenous, despite making up just 2% of the general Australian population and around 21% of people using specialist homelessness services.

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.


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