Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021) Specialist homelessness services annual report 2020–21, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 07 July 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Specialist homelessness services annual report 2020–21. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-annual-report
Specialist homelessness services annual report 2020–21. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 07 December 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-annual-report
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Specialist homelessness services annual report 2020–21 [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2022 Jul. 7]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-annual-report
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Specialist homelessness services annual report 2020–21, viewed 7 July 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-annual-report
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The rate at which people access Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) can vary geographically due to varying service availability and region-specific factors such as housing availability and affordability. It is important to note that the rate of SHS clients is a measure of service response and does not necessarily reflect the total number of people in a local area in unstable housing situations.
In Australia, market changes can influence the availability of housing options within an area (Wood et al. 2014). Although the rate of homelessness is higher in remote areas, it is increasingly more common in areas with decreasing availability of affordable private renting and increasing overcrowding, such as major cities (Parkinson et al. 2019).
This section provides an overview of the geography of clients supported by SHS clients across Australia based on the client’s location prior to receiving SHS support.
Identifying client location in the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC)
This section examines people seeking SHS support based on where the person lived in the week before presenting to a SHS agency, as reported at the first support period during 2020–21. Clients are assigned to only one region for the financial year but may move to other regions before subsequent support periods. This location may not be a permanent address, for example, people who were couch surfing the week prior to seeking services may nominate the location of their temporary accommodation. Client location is classified to Statistical Area 4 (SA4) based on the 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) (ABS 2016). A total of 88 SA4s are reported in this section, which excludes non-geographic codes and Other Territories. Please note that other geographic analysis in the report is based on agency location. See Technical information for more details.
In 2020–21, SHS agencies assisted nearly 278,300 clients across Australia. The rate of people receiving SHS services varied by region in 2020–21 (Supplementary table CLIENTLOC.1):
This interactive dashboard includes an interactive map of Australia that shows the number and rate per 10,000 population of clients in each of Australia’s Statistical Area 4 regions in 2020–21. The dashboard includes two interactive horizontal bar graphs that further show the proportion of clients seeking services by sex and age group in the selected SA4 region, compared to the proportion of clients in Australia by sex and age group.
Of the 278,300 SHS clients in 2020–21, females made up the majority of clients; 60% or around 167,400 clients (Supplementary table CLIENTS.1). The location of male and female clients the week before presenting to a SHS agency varied (Figure CLIENTLOC.1):
The age profile of clients receiving SHS assistance varied by geography across Australia in 2020–21 (Figure CLIENTLOC.1):
Among clients whose housing status was known at the beginning of their first support period in 2020–21, around 111,100 clients presented homeless and 144,500 presented at risk of homelessness to SHS agencies across Australia (Supplementary table CLIENTS.11).
The proportion of homeless and at risk clients varied by geographic region (Figure CLIENTLOC.1):
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2016. Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1—Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016. ABS cat. no. 1270.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS.
Parkinson S, Batterham D, Reynolds M & Wood G 2019. The changing geography of homelessness: a spatial analysis from 2001 to 2016, AHURI Final Report 313. Melbourne: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
Wood G, Batterham D, Cigdem M & Mallett S 2014. The spatial dynamics of homelessness in Australia 2001–11, AHURI Final Report No.227. Melbourne: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
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