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 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 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 recieves assistance from an agency. A support period starts on the day the client first recieves 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.