Data source

Specialist Homelessness Services Collection

All agencies that receive funding to provide specialist homelessness services under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA),  formerly known as the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) or the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH), are in scope for the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHS collection). Agencies whose details have been provided to the AIHW by the relevant state or territory government department are included. Not all agencies were expected to participate in the collection.

Nationally, there were 1,583 agencies that delivered specialist homelessness services in 2018‒19.

Of the agencies expected to participate in the collection in at least one month during the 2018–19 reporting period, 100% of agencies provided data for each month that they were expected to participate.


Client-level data

  • Data only includes clients aged 10 years and over, because all clients aged under 10 are excluded when deriving the mental health flag.
  • An individual client may have received more than one support period. Matching data from individual clients who received services from different agencies and/or at different times requires a valid statistical linkage key (SLK); in 2018–19, 98% of support periods had a valid SLK.
  • Clients who have more than one support period in 2018–19 may present with different characteristics in these different support periods. For example, their main reason for seeking assistance may be 'domestic and family violence' in their first support period, and 'housing crises' in the second. In these instances, some information presented will be based on their first support period in 2018–19; other information is based on a counting methodology that analyses the client's responses and where these are different responses, determines the response provided most often and the client's longest support period for each month in 2018–19.
  • Clients may have received services from more than one state/territory. Annual client–level data presented by jurisdiction should be interpreted with caution as data is representative of clients who presented to that jurisdiction at any time during the reporting period; it may not represent the clients’ characteristics exhibited when they attended for services in that particular jurisdiction.

SHS data collection

  • Due to improvements in agency response and statistical linkage key (SLK) validity rates, data from 2017–18 onwards were not weighted. As the aim of the imputation strategy was to account for low rates of agency response and SLK validity in previous years, unweighted data for 2017–18 onwards are directly comparable with weighted data for 2011–12 to 2016–17. The removal of weighting does not constitute a break in time series.
  • In 2017–18, age and age-related variables were derived using a more robust calculation method. Caution should be used when comparing results with publications from December 2018 onwards that include 2017–18 data with other publications.
  • As with all data collections, the SHS collection estimates are subject to errors. These can arise from data coding and processing errors, inaccurate data or missing data. Reported findings are based on data reported by agency workers.
  • Changes in SHS collection data over time may be influenced by changes in underlying jurisdiction policies, programs or systems. These changes might affect the service footprint, the characteristics of priority clients, or how services work together to respond to client needs.
  • Detailed information on how specific variables were derived can be found in the 'Technical information' for the Specialist homelessness services annual report 2018–19

Data quality

  • The 2018–19 Specialist Homelessness Services Collection Data Quality Statement is available from the METeOR website.


AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2019. Specialist homelessness services annual report 2018–19. Cat. no. HOU 318. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 19 May 2020.