Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019) Specialist Homelessness Services annual report 2018–19, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 20 May 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Specialist Homelessness Services annual report 2018–19. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/shs-annual-report-18-19
Specialist Homelessness Services annual report 2018–19. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 18 December 2019, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/shs-annual-report-18-19
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Specialist Homelessness Services annual report 2018–19 [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019 [cited 2022 May. 20]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/shs-annual-report-18-19
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019, Specialist Homelessness Services annual report 2018–19, viewed 20 May 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/shs-annual-report-18-19
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Access to services can become increasingly difficult the further away a client is from a major city (ABS 2018). For Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS), state and territory systems for the assessment, intake, referral and ongoing case management of SHS clients vary, ranging from agency-based to centralised management models (PC 2019). This section provides an overview of the geography of SHS support services provided across Australia based on the location of the agency.
Reporting service location in the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC)
This section examines client service needs and characteristics based on the location of the SHS agency, where the service was received, that is, the profile of clients receiving support in specific areas. Clients can access services in more than one remoteness area, however, for the purpose of the analysis, clients are assigned to one Remoteness Area based on the SHS agency where they first sought support in 2018–19. The 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) (ABS 2018) is used to classify agencies by Remoteness Area based on the location details of each agency (see Technical Information).
In interpreting regional service trends throughout this section, ‘urban areas’ refer to Major cities and Inner and Outer regional areas and ‘remote areas’ refer to Remote and Very remote areas, unless otherwise stated.
In 2018–19, clients seeking assistance from SHS agencies in urban and remote areas displayed distinct characteristics:
The SHS collection continues to reveal differences in client characteristics and service needs across Australia. Some key service trends between 2014–15 and 2018–19 (Table REG.1):
Number of clients (proportion (per cent) of all clients)
Rate (per 10,000 population)
Housing situation at the beginning of first support period (proportion (per cent) of all clients)
At risk of homelessness
Length of support (median number of days)
Average number of support periods per client
Proportion receiving accommodation
Median number of nights accommodated
Proportion of a client group who had a case management plan (per cent)
Achievement of all case management goals (per cent)
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2014–15 to 2018–19.
In 2018–19 (Figure REG.1):
Source: Specialist Homelessness Services Collection 2018–19, Supplementary table REG.4.
Outcomes presented here describe the change in clients’ housing situation between the start and end of support during 2018–19. Data is limited to clients who ceased receiving support during the financial year—meaning that their support periods had closed and they did not have ongoing support at the end of the year.
Many clients had long periods of support or even multiple support periods during 2018–19. They may have had a number of changes in their housing situation over the course of their support. These changes within the year are not reflected in the data presented here, rather the client situation at the start of their first support period in 2018–19 is compared with the end of their last support period in 2018–19. A proportion of these clients may have sought assistance prior to 2018–19, and may again in the future (Table REG.2).
Beginning of support
Beginning of support
House, townhouse or flat - couch surfer or with no tenure
Public or community housing - renter or rent free
Private or other housing - renter, rent free or owner
Total at risk
Short term temporary accommodation
Total clients with known housing situation
Remote and Very remote
For clients with a known housing status who were at risk of homelessness at the start of support, by the end of support (Interactive Tableau visualisation):
For clients who were known to be homeless at the start of support, at the end of support:
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2018. Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5—Remoteness structure, July 2016. ABS cat. no. 1270.0.55.005. Canberra: ABS.
PC (Productivity Commission) 2019. Report of Government Services 2019: Part G, Section 19: Homelessness Services. Viewed September 2019.
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