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 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 2016–17. Rates: NSW 357.7; Vic 540.6; Qld 237.1; WA 244.4; SA 335.6; Tas 635.5; ACT 470.1; NT 525.6; National total 365.2. 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 2016–17 for each state/territory and nationally. The rates show an overall increase over time, with the exception of the ACT. Rates: NSW: 2011–12, 216.8; 2012–13, 218.2; 2013–14, 241.3; 2014–15, 237.6; 2015–16, 333.5; 2016–17, 357.7. Vic: 2011–12, 303.1; 2012–13, 348.3; 2013–14, 420.6; 2014–15, 482.9; 2015–16, 509.3; 2016–17, 540.6. Qld: 2011–12, 200.2; 2012–13, 210.5; 2013–14, 218.9; 2014–15, 244.0; 2015–16, 239.4; 2016–17, 237.1. WA: 2011–12, 188.0; 2012–13, 186.2; 2013–14, 182.6; 2014–15, 218.1; 2015–16, 228.5; 2016–17, 244.4. SA: 2011–12, 171.0; 2012–13, 192.2; 2013–14, 248.5; 2014–15, 292.3; 2015–16, 309.0; 2016–17, 335.6. Tas: 2011–12, 330.6; 2012–13, 350.2; 2013–14, 470.5; 2014–15, 542.8; 2015–16, 613.0; 2016–17, 635.5. ACT: 2011–12, 427.2; 2012–13, 497.8; 2013–14, 518.7; 2014–15, 537.3; 2015–16, 518.5; 2016–17, 470.1. NT: 2011–12, 427.6; 2012–13, 388.0; 2013–14, 319.3; 2014–15, 381.6; 2015–16, 498.4; 2016–17, 525.6. National total: 2011–12, 228.2; 2012–13, 243.1; 2013–14, 277.1; 2014–15, 306.0; 2015–16, 346.2, 2016–17, 365.2. 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 2016–17. Rates for clients with a current mental health issue: 65+, 39.5; 55–64, 174.9; 45–54, 391.6; 35–44, 557.6; 25–34 470.3, 18–24, 658.3; 15–17, 603.9; 10–14, 209.0. Rates for clients without a current mental health issue: 65+, 181.6; 55–64, 369.7; 45–54, 706.0; 35–44, 1,033.1; 25–34, 996.1; 18–24, 1,203.4; 15–17, 1,295.1; 10–14, 1,025.0. 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 current mental health issue by main reason for seeking assistance 2016–17. Clients with a current mental health issue: Housing crisis, 27.2; Domestic and family violence, 17.6; Inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions, 10.6; Financial difficulties, 9.5; Relationship/family breakdown, 6.0; Previous accommodation ended, 5.0; Housing affordability stress, 4.9; Mental health issues, 4.4; Transition from custodial arrangements, 2.2; Time out from family/other situation, 1.4. Clients without a current mental health issue: Housing crisis, 22.8; Domestic and family violence, 28.8; Inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions, 8.6; Financial difficulties, 12.6; Relationship/family breakdown, 3.8; Previous accommodation ended, 4.1; Housing affordability stress, 5.1; Mental health issues, n.a.; Transition from custodial arrangements, 1.7; 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 2016–17. Rates for clients with a current mental health issue: NSW 178.7; Vic 239.7; Qld 145.4; WA 141.0; SA 143.3; Tas 458.0; ACT 248.9; NT 339.9; National Total 180.2. Rates for clients without a current mental health issue: NSW 167.7; Vic 236.8; Qld 247.4; WA 287.9; SA 276.5; Tas 442.1; ACT 232.2; NT 1,503.1, National Total 236.5. 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 2016–17. 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, 141.2; 2013–14, 149.7; 2014–15, 162.1; 2015–16, 175.5; 2016–17, 180.2. Rates for clients without a mental health issue: 2011–12, 270.9; 2012–13, 283.0; 2013–14, 243.6; 2014–15, 240.2; 2015–16, 244.4; 2016–17, 236.5. 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 2016–17. Rates for clients with a current mental health issue: NSW 172.4; Vic 286.8; Qld 89.9; WA 102.7; SA 192.4; Tas 170.2; ACT 209.9; NT 177.7; National Total 178.0. Rates for clients without a current mental health issue: NSW 367.9; Vic 882.2; Qld 258.0; WA 371.9; SA 559.6; Tas 257.1; ACT 353.8; NT 1,379.5; National Total 497.8. 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 2016–17. 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, 81.7; 2012–13, 98.8; 2013–14, 122.8; 2014–15, 138.2; 2015–16, 164.2; 2016–17, 178.0. Rates for clients without a mental health issue: 2011–12, 414.2; 2012–13, 478.0; 2013–14, 474.6; 2014–15, 467.7; 2015–16, 496.4; 2016–17, 497.8. 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 2016–17. Clients with a current mental health issue: up to 5 days 13.9; 6–45 days 26.2; 46–90 days 17.3; 91–180 days 19.2; over 180 days 23.4. Clients without a current mental health issue: up to 5 days 31.7; 6–45 days 30.8; 46–90 days 14.7; 91–180 days 12.4; over 180 days 10.4. Refer to Table SHS.10. Back to figure SHS.9