SHS demographics national cube metadata

This page supports the use of the SHS demographics national cube. The data within this cube relate to the 2011–12 to 2014–15 financial years.

You can find information on:

  • the data items available in this cube
  • explanatory notes that outline some of the important aspects of the data in this cube
  • a series of examples on how to query the data in this cube.

Under the section Available data items you will find a list of all the data items available for analysis in this cube. This list provides a brief explanation of the data item’s response categories, as well as a brief description of the rules used for determining a client’s response.

Under the section Explanatory notes you will find information that is useful for interpreting and analysing the SHSC data generally and this cube specifically. This section will cover information on the SHSC client conceptual framework, that is, how client’s responses are recorded and the rules used to decide which response is used at the client level. More specifically, this relates to some of the more technical aspects of the data, such as explaining the first/last reported data items, majority data items and summative data items.

Available data items

Data item Category Status flags(a) for data item
Accommodation Nights

The total number of accommodation nights provided for a client over the reporting period i.e. if a client has multiple support periods with accommodation nights, all the nights are added together.

No accommodation

1 night—Client had 1 night of accommodation during the reporting period.

2 nights – 1 week—client had 2 nights to 1 week of accommodation during the reporting period.

8 nights – 2 weeks—client had 8 nights to 2 weeks of accommodation during the reporting period.

15 nights – 4 weeks—client had 15 nights to 4 weeks of accommodation during the reporting period.

>4 weeks – 6 weeks—client had more than 4 weeks to 6 weeks of accommodation during the reporting period.

>6 weeks – 13 weeks—client had more than 6 weeks to 13 weeks of accommodation during the reporting period.

>13 weeks – 19 weeks—client had more than 13 weeks to 19 weeks of accommodation during the reporting period.

>19 weeks – 26 weeks—client had more than 19 weeks to 26 weeks of accommodation during the reporting period.

>26 weeks – 39 weeks—client had more than 26 weeks to 39 weeks of accommodation during the reporting period.

>39 weeks – 52 weeks—client had more than 39 weeks to 52 weeks of accommodation during the reporting period.

>52 weeks—client had more than 52 weeksof accommodation during the reporting period.

Summative (frequency count)
Age Group

The age of the client at the beginning of their first support period in the reporting period or the age of the client at the beginning of the reporting period—whichever occurs later.

0−9 

10−14

15−17

18−19

20−24

25−29

30−34

35−39

40−44

45−49

50−54

55−59

60−64

65+

n.p.—Client age is not published to protect client confidentiality.

First reported
Assistance with Core Activities(b) 

Whether the client reported needing assistance with core activities due to a health condition that had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more. Core activities are defined as:

  • Self-care e.g. showering or bathing, dressing or undressing, toileting, eating food.
  • Mobility e.g. moving around the house, moving around outside the home, getting in or out of a chair, using public transport.
  • Communication e.g. understanding or being understood by other people, including people they know.

Needs assistance with core activities—client reported always/sometimes needing help and/or supervision.

Does not need assistance with core activities—client reported having difficulty but not needing help/supervision, no difficulty but the use of aids/equipment, or no difficulty.

Don’t know

n.a. —Not available

Ever reported
Care or Protection Order

Yes—client was aged under 18 years, and in at least one support period within the reporting period, reported being under a care and protection order, and

  • reported one of the following care arrangements:
    • residential care,
    • family group home,
    • relatives/kin/friends (reimbursed),
    • foster care,
    • other home-based care (reimbursed),
    • relatives/kin/friends (not reimbursed), or
    • independent living; or
  • reported ‘transition from foster care/child safety residential placements’ as a reason for seeking assistance.

No—client was not identified as being under a care or protection order within the reporting period.

Ever reported
Client Count The number of uniquely identified clients. n/a
Diagnosed Mental Health Issue

Yes—client has been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue by a health professional.

No—client has never been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue by a health professional.

Don’t Know—client didn’t know if they had been diagnosed with a mental health issue or did not consent to this question.

Ever reported
Domestic violence

Yes—in at least one support period within the reporting period:

  • the client reported ‘domestic and family violence’ as a reason for seeking assistance, or
  • the client was assessed as having a need for ‘domestic or family violence assistance'.

No—client was not identified as experiencing domestic violence within the reporting period.

Ever reported
Exiting Care

Yes—in at least one support period within the reporting period:

  • the client had a dwelling type of:
    • hospital (excluding psychiatric),
    • psychiatric hospital or unit,
    • disability support,
    • rehabilitation, or
    • aged care facility; or
  • One of their reasons for seeking assistance was:
    • transition from foster care/child safety residential placements, or
    • transition from other care arrangements.

No—client was not identified as exiting care within the reporting period.

Ever reported
Exiting Custody

Yes—client is aged 10 years or older, and in at least one support period within the reporting period:

  • the client had a dwelling type of:
    • adult correctional facility,
    • youth or juvenile justice detention centre, or
    • immigration detention centre; or
  • the client reported ‘transition from custodial arrangements’ as a reason for seeking assistance, or
  • the formal referral source to the SHS agency was:
    • youth or juvenile justice correction centre, or
    • adult correctional facility.

No—client was not identified as transitioning from a custodial setting within the reporting period.

Ever reported
Family Type

The composition of the unit that presented to the agency. Presenting units are identified by a specific presenting unit id that may cover one client or a group of clients who present together to a specialist homelessness agency for assistance.

Lone person/not with group—a person who presents by themselves to an agency.

Single with child(ren)—a single parent/guardian with one or more child(ren), step child(ren), foster child(ren), niece/nephew, or grandchild(ren) only

Couple with child(ren)—a couple (spouse/partner) with one or more child(ren), step child(ren), foster child(ren), niece/nephew, or grandchild(ren) only.

Couple without children—a couple (spouse/partner) only.

Other family— any other relationship that follows the definition of family above.

Other group—any group of people who present together to a specialist homelessness agency, where there are no family relationships between members of the presenting unit.

First reported
Homelessness

Homeless—information recorded for the client’s dwelling type, tenure type and conditions of occupancy indicated they were homeless at the beginning of the first support period within the reporting period.

At Risk— information recorded for the client’s dwelling type, tenure type and conditions of occupancy indicated they were at risk of homelessness at the beginning of the first support period within the reporting period.

Not Classified—client’s homelessness status could not be established due to insufficient information. 

Please refer to the Explanatory note for a description of how homelessness status is assigned.

First reported, ever reported
Indigenous Status

Indigenous—if the client identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in any of their support periods during the reporting period.

Non-Indigenous—if the client identifies as neither Aboriginal nor Torres Strait Islander, and does not identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in any of their support periods during the reporting period.

Not stated—if the client does not provide any information on their Indigenous status, in any of their support periods during the reporting period.

Ever reported
Main Reason

The main reason for seeking assistance reported by the client.

Invalid or Missing

Financial difficulties

Housing affordability stress

Housing crises

Inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions

Previous accommodation ended

Time out from family/other situation

Relationship/family breakdown

Sexual abuse

Domestic and family violence

Non-family violence

Mental health issues

Medical issues

Problematic drug or substance use

Problematic alcohol use

Employment difficulties

Unemployment

Problematic gambling

Transition from custodial arrangements

Transition from foster care and child safety residential placements

Transition from other care arrangements

Discrimination including racial discrimination

Itinerant

Unable to return home due to environmental reasons

Disengagement with school or other education and training

Lack of family and/or community support

Other

Don't know

First reported
Mental Health Issue(c)

Yes—client is aged 10 years or older, and in at least one support period within the reporting period:

  • reported ‘mental health issues’ as a reason for seeking assistance; or
  • was assessed as having a need for psychological services, psychiatric services or mental health services; or
  • was formally referred to the agency by a mental health service; or
  • had been in a psychiatric hospital or unit in the last 12 months; or
  • had a dwelling type of psychiatric hospital or unit.

No—client was not identified as having a mental health issue within the reporting period.

Ever reported
Repeat Homelessness

Yes—client changed status from ‘homeless’ to ‘at risk’ of homelessness and back to ‘homeless’ at least once in the financial year;

No—client does not satisfy the definition for ‘Yes’.

Please refer to the Explanatory note for a description of how homelessness status is assigned.

n/a
Sex

The sex of the client.

Male

Female

First reported
State/Territory

The state/territory where the client received support (i.e. had a support period). Note: Clients can be counted in more than one state/territory, and the total for all states will be greater than the total for Australia. When this data item is not included in a table, clients receiving support in more than one state/territory are only counted once.

NSW

Vic

Qld

SA

WA

Tas

NT

ACT

Summative
Support Period Length

The total number of support days for a client over the reporting period i.e. if a client has concurrent or multiple support periods, all the days are added together.

Less than a day—client had less than 1 day of support during the reporting period.

1 day—client had 1 day of support during the reporting period.

2 days – 1 week—client had 2 days to1 week of support during the reporting period.

8 days – 2 weeks—client had 8 days to 2 weeks of support during the reporting period.

15 days – 4 weeks—client had 15 days to 4 weeks of support during the reporting period.

>4 weeks – 6 weeks—client had more than 4 weeks to 6 weeks of support during the reporting period.

>6 weeks – 13 weeks—client had more than 6 weeks to 13 weeks of support during the reporting period.

>13 weeks – 19 weeks—client had more than 13 weeks to 19 weeks of support during the reporting period.

>19 weeks – 26 weeks—client had more than 19 weeks to 26 weeks of support during the reporting period.

>26 weeks – 39 weeks—client had more than 26 weeks to 39 weeks of support during the reporting period.

>39 weeks – 52 weeks—client had more than 39 weeks to 52 weeks of support during the reporting period.

>52 weeks—client had more than 52 weeks of support during the reporting period.

Missing/Invalid

Summative (frequency count)
Year The financial year reference period. n.a.

Notes

  1. Status flags relate to the point in time a client’s information is recorded for the client. For more information see Status flags below.

  2. Assistance with core activities was collected from 1 July 2013. Before 2013–14, the number of clients requiring assistance with core activities is reported as ‘n.a.’.

  3. The derivation for mental health status has changed over time. From 2014–15, the data relates to all clients (including clients aged up to 10 years), while the previous data relates to clients aged over 10 years only.

Explanatory notes

Clients in the SHSC

Data in this cube relate to clients who access specialist homelessness services. To present information on clients in the SHSC requires some modification of the data received from specialist homelessness services. This is because information received from specialist homelessness agencies relates to support periods (or service episodes). That is, all information collected of a person, relates to the time in which they started receiving services from an agency to when they stopped receiving services from that agency—a support period.

To create clients from support periods, a client conceptual framework was developed. The client conceptual framework essentially outlines certain rules to follow when determining the appropriate support period information for a client.

While this can be quite complicated and detailed, the following three broad points are most important to consider when interpreting and analysing client-level information in this and other client-level cubes:

  • A client can have multiple support periods
  • Some information is only collected at the beginning of a client's support period and some information is only collected at the end of the client's support period
  • For support periods that span more than one month, some information is collected in each month that the support period is open.

It is important to consider clients with multiple support periods as they can potentially have different responses to the same questions. For example, for the Indigenous status data item in this cube, a client may have identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) in one support period and identified as non-Indigenous in another. To create one Indigenous status for this client, one of these responses needs to be reported.

For information that is collected at different times in the support period, the decision on which response to report is dependent on what analysis is being performed on the data. For example, with the data in the 'SHS other outcomes national' cube, you may wish to analyse the labour force outcomes of the client. To do this, you will most likely want to analyse the clients labour force status when they first reported to an agency—their first reported status—with their labour force status at the end of the reporting period—their last reported status.

Status flags

To account for all of these aspects of creating client-level data from support period data, 'status flags' have been created.

The status flags available in this cube are as follows:

Ever flag—Reports response categories for a client if they have ever provided that response in the reference period. Where there are multiple responses to the same data item, a hierarchy is created for the response categories within that data item.

The category at the top of the hierarchy is reported if the client ever provides this response in the reporting period, and the second category in the hierarchy is reported if the client ever provides this response within in the reporting period, but not the category above it in the hierarchy, and so on.

For example, taking the example of Indigenous status used above, the category hierarchy is as follows; 'Indigenous', 'non-Indigenous', 'don't know', 'invalid/missing'. So, if a client provides 'Indigenous' as a response in any of their support periods within the reporting period, they will be recorded as being an Indigenous client.

First reported flag—the response recorded for the client when they first presented to an agency in their support period with the earliest start date in the reference period.

For example, a client with two support periods in 2011–12, one beginning on 1 July 2011 and another beginning on 7 July 2011, their labour force status first reported will equate to the information they provided at the beginning of the support period that began on 1 July 2011.

Last reported flag—the response recorded for the client with the latest date in the reference period.

For example, a client with a support period ending 10 June 2012 and another that ended on 25 June 2012, their labour force status last reported will equate to the information they provided at the end of their support period that ended on 25 June. Similarly, if the client had a support period that was ongoing at the end of June 2012, their labour force status last reported will equate to the information they provided at the end of June 2012.

Majority flag—the answer provided most often by the client in the reference period.

For example, if a client has three support periods in the reference period, and for their 'Reason no case management plan' information, provide the response 'Part of another person's case management plan' in two of their support periods, and 'Service episode too short' in one of their support periods, 'Part of another person's case management plan' will be the response reported for that client.

If the client has an equal number of responses between multiple support periods, a defined order of responses is used to determine which response to report for the client. For example, for the 'Reason no case management plan' data item in the 'SHS housing situation national cube', the order of responses is: 'Service episode too short', 'Client did not agree to one', 'Part of another person's case management plan', and 'Other.'

Summative—reports every response recorded for the client in the reference period.

For example, a client who received services in New South Wales and Victoria will have a response recorded in the 'State/Territory' data item for both of these states. It is important to remember that the total number of responses for data items with a summative status flags can potentially add to more than the number of clients.

Note: You may notice that when the 'State/Territory' data item is not included in the table, the 'Applied filters' section, located above the table, will show all states and territories are included in the table. In this instance, this does not mean the number of responses included in the table add to more than the number of clients. It is only when the State/Territory flag is included in the table that the number of responses will add to more than the number of clients in the reference period.

Homelessness status

All clients of specialist homelessness services are considered to be either homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Clients are considered to be homeless if they are living in any of the following circumstances:

  • No shelter or improvised dwelling: includes where dwelling type is no dwelling/street/park/in the open, motor vehicle, improvised building/dwelling, caravan, cabin, boat or tent; or tenure type is renting or living rent-free in a caravan park.
  • Short-term temporary accommodation: dwelling type is boarding/rooming house, emergency accommodation, hotel/motel/bed and breakfast; or tenure type is renting or living rent-free in boarding/rooming house, renting or living rent-free in emergency accommodation or transitional housing.
  • House, townhouse or flat (couch surfing or with no tenure): tenure type is no tenure; or conditions of occupancy are living with relatives fee free, couch surfing.

Clients are considered to be at risk if they are living in any of the following circumstances:

  • Public or community housing (renter or rent free): dwelling type is house/townhouse/flat and tenure type is renter or rent-free public housing, renter or rent-free-community housing.
  • Private or other housing (renter, rent-free or owner): dwelling type is house/townhouse/flat and tenure type is renter-private housing, life tenure scheme, owner―shared equity or rent/buy scheme, owner-being purchased/with mortgage, owner-fully owned, rent-free-private/other housing.
  • Institutional settings: dwelling type is hospital, psychiatric hospital, disability support, rehabilitation, boarding school, adult correctional facility, youth/juvenile justice detention centre or immigration detention centre.