Disadvantaged Australians face hardest climb out of homelessness

Australians who are among the most socially and economically disadvantaged have poorer housing outcomes, even with support from homelessness agencies. This was one of the main findings of a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Housing outcomes for groups vulnerable to homelessness: 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2013, looks at four cohorts of people who are vulnerable to homelessness-those experiencing domestic and family violence, young people presenting alone, people with problematic drug and alcohol use and those with a current mental health issue.

The report examines the housing outcomes of over 94,000 clients of Specialist Homelessness Services between 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2013 across these four cohorts.

These services support people who are homeless as well as people who are at risk of becoming homeless.

'Across all four cohorts those clients who were unemployed, had no income or were only receiving income support payments, had a past history of homelessness and more complex presenting issues were least likely to remain in their housing or be able to obtain housing,'  said AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck.

'The poorest housing outcomes were seen among those who had problematic drug and alcohol use. This cohort had the highest rates of homelessness at both the start and finish of support compared to other cohorts,' Mr Neideck said.

The report also highlights the work that services undertake to keep people housed and assist homeless persons into stable housing.

'Specialist Homelessness Services put considerable effort into preventing those most at risk of losing their housing falling into homelessness,' Mr Neideck said.

'It also takes considerable support by agencies to assist a person into housing once they have become homeless. The group of clients who presented homeless and became housed were supported for the greatest median number of days of support.

'This illustrates the level of effort that goes into assisting people to become housed or preventing clients from falling into homelessness, often where there are difficult or complex circumstances, ' Mr Neideck said.

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.

Canberra, 2 October 2014


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