Key concepts

Specialist Homelessness Services

Key concept Description
Accommodation services Accommodation services include short-term or emergency accommodation, medium-term/transitional housing, assistance to obtain long term housing, assistance to sustain tenancy or prevent tenancy failure or eviction and assistance to prevent foreclosures or for mortgage arrears.
Client

A Specialist homelessness agency client is a person who receives a specialist homelessness service. A client can be of any age. Children are also clients if they receive a service from a specialist homelessness agency.

To be a client the person must directly receive a service and not just be a beneficiary of a service.

Children who present with an adult and receive a service are considered to be a client; children of a client or other household members who present but do not directly receive a service are not considered to be clients. 

Client with a current mental health issue

SHS clients with a current mental health issue are identified as such if they have provided any of the following information: 

  • they indicated at the beginning of a support period they were receiving services or assistance for their mental health issues, or had received them in the last 12 months; 
  • their formal referral source to the specialist homelessness agency was a mental health service;
  • they reported ‘mental health issues’ as a reason for seeking assistance;
  • their dwelling type either a week before presenting to an agency, or when presenting to an agency, was a psychiatric hospital or unit;
  • they had been in a psychiatric hospital or unit in the last 12 months; 
  • at some stage during their support period, a need was identified for psychological services, psychiatric services or mental health services.
Other support services Other support services refer to the assistance, other than accommodation services, provided to a client. They include domestic/family violence services, mental health services, family/relationship assistance, disability services, drug/alcohol counselling, legal/financial services, immigration/cultural services, other specialist services and general assistance and support.
Specialist homelessness agency A specialist homelessness agency  is an organisation which receives government funding to deliver specialist homelessness services to a client. These can be either not-for-profit and for profit agencies.
Specialist homelessness service(s) Specialist homelessness service(s) is assistance provided by a specialist homelessness agency to a client aimed at responding to or preventing homelessness. The specialist homelessness services in scope for this collection include accommodation provision, assistance to sustain housing, mental health services, family/relationship assistance, disability services, drug/alcohol counselling, legal/financial services, immigration/cultural services, domestic/family violence services, other specialist services and general assistance and support.
Support period

A support period

is the period of time a client receives assistance from an agency.  A support period starts on the day the client first receives a service from an agency and ends when:

  • the relationship between the client and the agency ends,
  • the client has reached their maximum amount of support the agency can offer, or 
  • a client has not received any services from the agency for a whole calendar month and there is no ongoing relationship.

Alternative text for Specialised homelessness services figures

Figure SHS.1

Vertical bar graph showing SHS clients with a current mental health issue per 100,000 population for each state/territory and nationally in 2017–18. Rates: NSW 348.1; Vic 574.0; Qld 250.9; WA 247.4; SA 347.2; Tas 630.5; ACT 440.8; NT 538.7; National total 374.9. Refer to Table SHS.1. Back to figure SHS.1.

Figure SHS.2

Line graph showing SHS clients with a current mental health issue per 100,000 population from 2011–12 to 2017–18 for each state/territory and nationally. The rates show an overall increase over time, with the exception of the ACT. Rates: NSW: 2011–12, 216.9; 2012–13, 218.4; 2013–14, 241.6 2014–15, 238.0; 2015–16, 334.0; 2016–17, 357.8; 2017–18, 348.1. Vic: 2011–12, 303.2; 2012–13, 348.5; 2013–14, 421.0; 2014–15, 483.7; 2015–16, 510.1; 2016–17, 540.7; 2017–18, 574.0. Qld: 2011–12, 200.2; 2012–13, 210.5; 2013–14, 219.1; 2014–15, 244.3; 2015–16, 239.8; 2016–17, 237.1; 2017–18, 250.9. WA: 2011–12, 188.0; 2012–13, 186.6; 2013–14, 183.1; 2014–15, 218.5; 2015–16, 228.8; 2016–17, 244.9; 2017–18, 247.4. SA: 2011–12, 171.0; 2012–13, 192.3; 2013–14, 248.5; 2014–15, 292.5; 2015–16, 309.2; 2016–17, 335.6; 2017–18, 347.2. Tas: 2011–12, 330.6; 2012–13, 350.3; 2013–14, 470.7; 2014–15, 542.9; 2015–16, 613.5; 2016–17, 634.3; 2017–18, 630.5. ACT: 2011–12, 426.8; 2012–13, 498.1; 2013–14, 519.1; 2014–15, 538.1; 2015–16, 519.2; 2016–17, 469.0; 2017–18, 440.8. NT: 2011–12, 427.2; 2012–13, 389.3; 2013–14, 320.4; 2014–15, 382.3; 2015–16, 498.9; 2016–17, 523.0; 2017–18, 538.7. National total: 2011–12, 228.2; 2012–13, 243.3; 2013–14, 277.4; 2014–15, 306.5; 2015–16, 346.7, 2016–17, 365.3; 2017–18, 374.9. Refer to Table SHS.1. Back to figure SHS.2

Figure SHS.3

Horizontal bar chart showing SHS clients with and without a current mental health issue per 100,000 population by age group 2017–18. Rates for clients with a current mental health issue: 10–14, 223.3; 15–17, 726.2; 18–24, 643.7; 25–34, 478.9; 35–44, 576.2; 45–54, 409.8; 55–64, 177.7; 65+, 37.2. Rates for clients without a current mental health issue: 10–14, 973.9; 15–17, 1,289.1; 18–24, 1,121.7; 25–34, 964.5; 35–44, 1,001.5; 45–54, 684.5; 55–64, 365.7; 65+, 184.5. Refer to Table SHS.2. Back to figure SHS.3

Figure SHS.4

Horizontal bar chart showing per cent of SHS clients with and without a current mental health issue by main reason for seeking assistance 2017–18. Clients with a current mental health issue: Housing crises, 24.5; Domestic and family violence, 18.8; Inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions, 11.1; Financial difficulties, 9.4; Housing affordability stress, 6.2; Relationship/family breakdown, 6.0; Previous accommodation ended, 4.6; Mental health issues, 4.2; Transition from custodial arrangements, 2.8; Time out from family/other situation, 1.4. Clients without a current mental health issue: Housing crises, 20.1; Domestic and family violence, 31.6; Inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions, 9.4; Financial difficulties, 12.5; Housing affordability stress, 5.7; Relationship/family breakdown, 3.7; Previous accommodation ended, 3.6; Transition from custodial arrangements, 1.8; Time out from family/other situation, 1.3. Refer to Table SHS.5. Back to figure SHS.4

Figure SHS.5

Vertical bar chart showing SHS clients with and without a current mental health issue per 100,000 population by state/territory who received accommodation services in 2017–18. Rates for clients with a current mental health issue: NSW 164.7; Vic 248.2; Qld 147.9; WA 138.7; SA 161.2; Tas 448.1; ACT 234.1; NT 337.4; Total 179.7. Rates for clients without a current mental health issue: NSW 144.4; Vic 229.0; Qld 226.4; WA 263.2; SA 289.5; Tas 377.5; ACT 185.8; NT 1,455.8, Total 219.0. Refer to Table SHS.7. Back to figure SHS.5

Figure SHS.6

Line graph showing SHS clients with and without a current mental health issue per 100,000 population who received accommodation services, nationally, 2011–12 to 2017–18. The rates show an overall increase in clients for a mental health issue and an overall decrease for clients without a mental health issue. Rates for clients with a mental health issue: 2011–12, 133.3; 2012–13, 141.3; 2013–14, 149.9; 2014–15, 162.4; 2015–16, 175.8; 2016–17, 180.2; 2017–18, 179.7. Rates for clients without a mental health issue: 2011–12, 271.0; 2012–13, 283.2; 2013–14, 256.8; 2014–15, 240.5; 2015–16, 244.8; 2016–17, 236.6; 2017–18, 219.0. Refer to Table SHS.8. Back to figure SHS.6

Figure SHS.7

Vertical bar graph showing SHS clients with and without a current mental health issue per 100,000 population by state/territory who received other (non-accommodation) services in 2017–18. Rates for clients with a current mental health issue: NSW 177.7; Vic 310.2; Qld 99.2; WA 107.3; SA 186.0; Tas 177.8; ACT 200.5; NT 188.0; Total 188.1. Rates for clients without a current mental health issue: NSW 347.6; Vic 866.7; Qld 253.5; WA 360.1; SA 439.5; Tas 212.8; ACT 291.4; NT 1,352.3; Total 475.2. Refer to Table SHS.7. Back to figure SHS.7.

Figure SHS.8

Line graph showing SHS clients with and without a current mental health issue per 100,000 population who received other (non-accommodation) services, nationally, 2011–12 to 2017–18. The rates show an overall increase for clients with a mental health issue accessing these services. Rates for clients with a mental health issue: 2011–12, 81.8; 2012–13, 98.8; 2013–14, 122.9; 2014–15, 138.4; 2015–16, 164.5; 2016–17, 178.1; 2017–18, 188.1. Rates for clients without a mental health issue: 2011–12, 414.3; 2012–13, 478.4; 2013–14, 491.4; 2014–15, 468.4; 2015–16, 497.2; 2016–17, 497.9; 2017–18, 475.2. Refer to Table SHS.8. Back to figure SHS.8

Figure SHS.9

Horizontal bar chart showing the per cent of SHS clients with and without a current mental health issue by the length of support provided in 2017–18. Clients with a current mental health issue: up to 5 days 12.6; 6–45 days 25.9; 46–90 days 17.8; 91–180 days 19.4; over 180 days 24.3. Clients without a current mental health issue: up to 5 days 30.5; 6–45 days 31.0; 46–90 days 15.4; 91–180 days 12.3; over 180 days 10.8. Refer to Table SHS.10. Back to figure SHS.9