at risk of homelessness: For the purpose of the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection a person is described as at risk of homelessness if they are at risk of losing their accommodation or are experiencing 1 or more factors or triggers that can contribute to homelessness. A full list of potential risk factors for homelessness can be found in the glossary of the Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18.
clients with complex care needs: Clients are identified as having a complex care need if they have at least 1 of the following: a current mental health issue, problematic drug and/or alcohol use, and disability.
clients with a current mental health issue: Specialist homelessness services (SHS) clients with a current mental health issue are identified as such if they are aged 10 or older and have provided any of the following information:
- they indicated that at the beginning of a support period they were receiving services or assistance for their mental health issues or had 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 as 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.
clients with disability: SHS clients with severe or profound disability are identified as such if at any time they have provided the following information: they ‘always/sometimes need help or supervision’ with self-care, mobility or communication for any support period during the reporting period.
clients with problematic drug and/or alcohol use: SHS clients with a current problematic drug and/or alcohol use are identified as such if they are aged 10 or older and have provided any of the following information:
- their dwelling type was recorded as rehabilitation.
- their formal referral source to the specialist homelessness agency was a drug and alcohol service.
- during their support they required drug/alcohol counselling.
- they have been in a rehabilitation facility/institution in the last 12 months.
- they have reported 'problematic drug or substance abuse' or 'problematic alcohol use' as a reason for seeking assistance or main reason for seeking assistance.
contemporary ex-serving ADF population: The contemporary ex-serving ADF population is defined as all ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members who have had at least 1 day of full-time or reserve service on or after 1 January 2001 and discharged after this time.
DVA (Department of Veterans’ Affairs) clients: DVA clients were identified through the linkage between the DVA client database and the Department of Defence administrative database (PMKeyS). All DVA clients in the data provided to AIHW were alive as at 1 January 2001. Identification of DVA client status through this linkage was conducted separately from the main source of income variable in the SHSC, which includes data about DVA payments received by clients of SHS agencies.
General services: General services include:
- family/relationship assistance
- assistance for incest/sexual assault
- legal information
- material aid/brokerage
- financial information
- educational assistance
- training assistance
- employment assistance
- assistance to obtain/maintain government allowances
- assertive outreach for rough sleepers
- child care
- assistance for trauma
- assistance for challenging social/behavioural problems
- living skills/personal development
- court support
- retrieval/storage/removal of personal belongings
- advocacy/liaison on behalf of client
- school liaison
- structured play/skills development
- child contact and residence arrangements
- laundry/shower facilities
- transport and
- other basic assistance.
homeless: For the purpose of the SHSC a person is defined as homeless if they are living in:
- non-conventional accommodation or ‘sleeping rough’
- short-term or emergency accommodation (including couch surfing) due to a lack of other options.
institutional settings: Institutional settings include a hospital, psychiatric hospital/unit, disability support unit, rehabilitation facility, adult correctional facility, youth/juvenile justice detention centre, boarding school/residential college, aged care facility, or immigration detention centre.
reporting period: The reporting period for this report is the 6 financial years between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2017 (2011–12 to 2016–17).
specialist homelessness agency: An organisation which receives government funding to deliver specialist homelessness services to a client.
start and end of support: SHS clients may have more than 1 support period during a reporting year, and may present with different characteristics in these different supporting periods. When data are reported as at the start of support across a year, the data are taken from the earliest support period in that financial year. When data are reported as at the end of support across a year, the data are taken from the last support period in that financial year. This includes data from the last closed support period, or, if the last support period is not closed, data from the end of the reporting period (30 June 2017). Inclusion of data from open support periods in reporting outcomes at the end of support differs from national SHSC reporting where only closed periods are counted.
SHS clients may also use SHS across multiple financial years. If data are reported as at the start of support across the entire reporting period of 6 years (2011–12 to 2016–17), then the data are taken from the earliest support period within the first year in which the client received support. If data are reported as at the end of support across the reporting period, then the data are taken from the last support period within the last year in which the client received support.
The scope of the data used in this report is SHS use which occurred between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2017, that was accessed by an ADF member after their discharge. Therefore, if an ADF member used SHS before their discharge date or after their discharge date but before 1 July 2011, this service use will not be captured in the data.
support period: The period of time in which a client receives services from a specialist homelessness agency is referred to as a support period. A support period starts on the day the client first receives a service 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
- a client has not received any services from the agency for a whole calendar month and there is no ongoing relationship.
The end of the support period is the day the client last received services from the agency.