Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data. Cat. no. HOU 321. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 22 October 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-monthly-data
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-monthly-data
Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 30 August 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-monthly-data
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2021 Oct. 22]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-monthly-data
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data, viewed 22 October 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-monthly-data
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Governments fund non-government agencies to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. These agencies provide specialised services to target groups as well as general homelessness support services. This site presents monthly data on the number of clients receiving services.
Data in this site are updated quarterly.
Financial difficulties and family and domestic violence are among the most common reasons for seeking assistance
Females are the main recipients of specialist homelessness services
The AIHW receives and aggregates data from around 1,600 specialist homelessness services agencies across Australia on a monthly basis. This site presents monthly data on the number of clients supported throughout each month since July 2017, by state, age and sex. Additional breakdowns by specific target groups, the reasons clients sought assistance, homelessness status, clients receiving financial support for short-term accommodation and nights in short-term accommodation are also included.
The data visualisation shows an interactive display with charts of monthly counts of clients by state and sex, separate charts for certain client groups, a population pyramid showing age and sex distributions for a selected time period and also counts of clients who sought services by their reason for seeking services. Data are available in the file available for download on this webpage.
Source data: Specialist homelessness services monthly data file (0.4MB XLS).
Please use the ‘Download’ button within the dashboard to generate image or PDF versions of the data.
Clients may access services in more than one state or territory. Therefore, the national total may be less than the sum of jurisdictions. State/territory level monthly client data are based on information from support periods active during the month within each respective state/territory.
The monthly count of clients should not be added together to determine an annual count as a client may receive assistance in more than one month. The Specialist homelessness services annual report series provides information about services provided to clients over an entire financial year (see the ‘Further information’ links).
A client’s monthly age is calculated as at the start of their first support period in the month in that jurisdiction, or at the start of the month (if the support period began in a previous month).
Cases where Sex has been recorded as ‘other’ have been combined with the category for ‘female’ for confidentiality/data quality reasons; sex = other is only applicable for support periods that started from 1 July 2019.
For each collection month, a client is counted if, in any support period active during the month:
For each collection month, a client is counted if they were 10 years or older at the start of the month and, in any support period active during the month, the client had any of the following:
The count of reasons for seeking assistance should not be added together to determine a monthly total as a client may nominate multiple reasons for seeking assistance.
From 26 March 2020, ‘COVID-19’ became an ‘other’ reason for seeking assistance. It could mean that the client and/or the agency were affected directly or indirectly by the crisis. Caution should be applied when interpreting these data because it may not mean that the client was directly impacted by COVID-19.
All clients of specialist homelessness services are considered to be either homeless or at risk of homelessness. Homelessness and at-risk status is determined by the specific criteria described below using three aspects of a client’s housing situation: dwelling type, housing tenure and their conditions of occupancy.
Clients are considered to be homeless if they are living in any of the following circumstances:
Clients are considered to be at risk if they are living in any of the following circumstances:
Clients who did not provide any information regarding the three aspects of their housing situation are classified as ‘not stated’.
Homeless status (Homeless or At risk of homelessness) is based on the last known housing situation for a client in the month, derived either at the end of the month for clients still receiving a service or at the end of the last support period in the month. Clients with unknown homeless status are excluded from the ‘Homeless/At risk of homelessness’ counts.
Clients who received financial assistance for accommodation not owned by an SHS agency, such as hotels, motels and caravan parks. It excludes assistance given alongside accommodation owned or directly managed by an SHS agency (for example, refuge or crisis centres) and does not include assistance for rent or other housing costs.
Clients who received accommodation owned or directly managed by an SHS agency, such as a refuge or crisis shelter. This includes emergency accommodation arranged and paid for by an SHS agency in places such as hotels, motels and caravan parks. However, this type of accommodation may not be accurately recorded by an SHS agency. Therefore, there may be an undercount of SHS clients accommodated in short-term/emergency accommodation (as well as their associated nights in short-term/emergency accommodation).
The NSW Government initiated a number of strategies in response to COVID-19 to ensure essential services continued, and supported people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness during the pandemic. One of the priorities of the NSW Government is to reduce street homelessness across NSW by 50 per cent by 2025. In this initiative, key areas of focus include:
These priorities, already in train, assisted in addressing disadvantage within the housing and homelessness sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, in late March 2020, the NSW Government announced additional funding and supports for social housing and homelessness prevention. As part of the second stage of the NSW Government’s $1 billion health and economic stimulus package, $34.4m in funding was made available to prevent people from experiencing homelessness. This includes people experiencing, and at risk of, homelessness, such as people in casual employment living in the private rental market. The package included provisions for emergency accommodation, as well as keeping people in stable, affordable housing:
Enhanced temporary accommodation was introduced from 1 April 2020, increasing temporary accommodation capacity and revising temporary accommodation policy to extend eligibility and duration of temporary accommodation support. The changes were as follows:
Since 1 April, more than 2,000 people sleeping rough have been provided with temporary accommodation and are being supported to transition to long term permanent accommodation and post-crisis support. Most of these initiatives are outside the scope of the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection and may have had an impact on the SHS client numbers in NSW.
Victoria’s provision of short term or emergency accommodation steadily increased from April to September 2020, and then decreased sharply from November 2020 however remained higher than pre-COVID. Provision of short term or emergency accommodation has been rising again since April 2021. Significant resources continued to be allocated throughout 2020-21 to meet demand and to provide safe housing exits for homeless clients. At the end of 2021, 4,000 clients are still being assisted who stated COVID-19 as a reason for presenting.
In Queensland, the Government delivered several responses to COVID-19 including:
It is anticipated that an overall increase in the number of clients seeking and provided support as a result of COVID-19 will be reflected through the SHSC.
During the COVID-19 period, the Department of Communities, in line with Department of Finance (Western Australia) instructions, reduced non-essential contract compliance requirements for services to assist organisations responding to the changing COVID-19 environment. These reductions in reporting requirements are not considered likely to have impacted on Specialist Homelessness Services Collection. In WA, relief fund grants have been available through Lotterywest and other one-off initiatives have taken place which fall outside the scope of SHSC but may influence the numbers reported. The WA Recovery Plan inthistogether outlines other current and upcoming initiatives which may provide further contextual information.
In response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Australia, the SA Housing Authority enacted a process for supporting people experiencing homelessness or domestic and family violence to stay in hotel / motel accommodation for the duration of the lockdown in order to comply with SA Health directions. Eligibility for hotel / motel accommodation required an individual or family to have no safe alternative access to accommodation for the duration of the lockdown, and included people sleeping rough and remote visitors. Accommodation was provided for the duration of the lockdown, at no cost to clients and outside the Authority’s standard Emergency Assistance Program eligibility criteria.
To facilitate exits for people accommodated during the lockdown, the Authority is supporting a coordinated approach with local homelessness service providers to identify a priority housing list of clients requiring longer term housing and support, with extended hotel/motel support provided to those clients who are on the priority housing list and awaiting a housing allocation. Prioritised housing includes short-term public housing, crisis and transitional accommodation, and supportive housing.
In Tasmania, the Government introduced a Housing and Homelessness Support Package to assist people in housing stress and at risk of homelessness in response to COVID-19. This included uncapped brokerage funding to assist people to access emergency accommodation if required. Additionally, funding for Safe Spaces was introduced to deliver 24/7 models of care in three regions to assist people who are homeless to access day and night services. Complementing the Safe Spaces program has been the introduction of new clinical mental health services and telephone health screening for homeless Tasmanians during the COVID 19 emergency period. This has enhanced the availability of services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, with the aim of improving long term housing outcomes.
In response to COVID, the ACT has provided funding for (a) accommodation support for both emergency and long-term accommodation for clients dealing with physical distancing in shelters, self-isolation or quarantine, (b) support services to clients in short- to medium-term accommodation to promote stability, (c) an increase in demand for family and domestic violence and sexual assault services, (d) brokered accommodation in motels and hotels, via the central intake system, for clients who cannot be accommodated through SHS, (e) new accommodation programs including temporary shelters for rough sleepers, men and for women with children. Additionally, the ACT’s Housing First program (Axial Housing) has been expanded to provide assistance to more rough sleepers.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern Territory Government implemented a Return to Country program in collaboration with a range of non-government organisations to facilitate Aboriginal people returning to their home communities from urban regional centres. In addition, the Australian Government imposed biosecurity zones between March 26 and June 5 around remote communities in the NT. Visitors were required to quarantine for 14 days prior to entering these zones. Together, these policies restricted the movement of people between remote communities and the urban regional centres where SHS agencies are based. This would have resulted in a reduction in the number of prospective clients for SHS agencies.
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