This report presents results of the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC) for the December quarter 2011. The SHSC describes the clients who receive assistance from specialist homelessness agencies and the services they receive.


In this quarter, an estimated 98,742 clients were assisted by specialist homelessness agencies―59% were female and 41% male. Eighteen per cent of clients were aged under 10; and just under half of all clients (48%) were aged under 25.

When adjusted for the resident population (as at 30 June 2011) the national rate of people accessing homelessness services in the December quarter was 44 per 10,000 people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented 21% of clients.

Most clients presented to specialist homelessness agencies alone (69%).

Domestic and family violence was the most common main reason for seeking assistance (25%). This was also the most common main reason reported by females (34% of female clients), but for male clients the most common main reasons were financial difficulties and housing crisis (both reported by 18% of male clients).

In 31% of support periods, clients had lived in short-term or emergency accommodation in the month before presenting for support, and 19% had ‘slept rough’.

Accommodation and other support services

Accommodation was provided to clients in 35% of all support periods. Short-term or emergency accommodation was provided most often (in 60% of support periods where accommodation was provided). Where a need for short-term or emergency accommodation was identified, it was met directly by the agency in 69% of support periods.

A total of 1,707,838 accommodation nights were provided in the reporting period to clients of specialist homelessness agencies. On average, 18,574 clients were accommodated on any given night, and the average length of accommodation provided by agencies was 66 nights.

Clients most often had needs for advice or information (in 68% of support periods). This service was provided directly by agencies in 98% of support periods where this was identified as a need.


There were slightly fewer clients living without shelter, or in inadequate dwellings, at the end of support (11% of closed support periods, compared with 14% at the beginning of these support periods).

There was a small decrease in the proportion of clients with no housing tenure at the end of support (21% of closed support periods, compared with 25% at the beginning of these support periods).

There was a slight decrease in clients who had no income after support (6% of closed support periods, compared with 7% at the beginning of these support periods).