Mental health and substance use problems are experienced by many Australians and research has indicated these problems are far more prevalent in the homeless population. For example, a literature review conducted in 2005 concluded 'that between one quarter and one half of adult homeless persons across western cities are experiencing severe and perhaps chronic mental illness' (St Vincent’s Mental Health Service & Craze Lateral Solutions 2006).
With regard to substance use problems, a survey of homeless people at inner Sydney refuges found that just over one-third of those interviewed had suff ered alcohol dependence and approximately one-third had been dependent on or abused other drugs in the 12 months prior to interview (Teesson et al. 2000).
This is bulletin is the sixth thematic report from the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) National Data Collection (NDC). It shows that a number of SAAP clients have mental health and/or substance use problems and provides an overview of the assistance given to these clients by the Program. SAAP is the major response by the Australian Government and state and territory governments to resolve and prevent homelessness.