The length of support provided to clients with problematic drug and/or alcohol use increased in 2021–22 to a median of 119 days, up from 86 days in 2017–18. The average number of support periods per client has been relatively consistent over time from an average of 2.9 support periods per client in 2018–19 to 3.0 in 2021–22.
The proportion of clients receiving accommodation has also been relatively stable at 50% in 2021–22, while the median number of nights accommodated increased from 40 in 2017–18 to 49 in 2021–22 (Supplementary table CLIENTS.46).
New or returning clients
In 2021–22 (Supplementary table CLIENTS.40):
- Clients with problematic drug and/or alcohol use were more likely to have received SHS services in the past (80% or almost 18,800 clients) than be new clients (20% or more than 4,600). That is, more clients had previously been assisted by a SHS agency at some point since the collection began in July 2011.
- Clients with problematic drug and/or alcohol use were more likely to be returning clients (80%) compared with other client groups; for example, compared with clients with a mental health issue (71%) and all SHS clients (63%). This may reflect the cyclical nature of insecure housing among people with problematic drug and/or alcohol use.
Main reasons for seeking assistance
In 2021–22, the main reasons clients with problematic drug and/or alcohol use presented to SHS agencies were (Supplementary tables SUB.5 and CLIENTS.22):
- housing crisis (19%, compared with 20% of the overall SHS population)
- inadequate/inappropriate dwelling conditions (15%, compared with 11%)
- family and domestic violence (13%, compared with 27%).
Few clients (4.1%) with problematic drug and/or alcohol use reported substance use issues as the main reason for seeking SHS assistance.
Services needed and provided
In 2021–22, the top 6 needs reported by SHS clients with problematic drug and/or alcohol use mainly related to housing and tenure (Supplementary table SUB.2).
Figure SUB.3: Clients with problematic drug and/or alcohol use, by services needed and provided, 2021–22