This report presents the first results of the new Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC) from the first quarter of data collection―July to September 2011. The SHSC describes the clients who seek assistance from specialist homelessness agencies and the services they receive.
In this quarter, an estimated 91,627 clients were assisted by specialist homelessness agencies―59% were female and 41% male. Eighteen per cent of clients were aged under 10; and half of all clients (50%) were aged under 25.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were significantly over-represented among SHSC clients―19% of clients were of Indigenous origin.
In 31% of support periods, clients had lived in short-term or emergency accommodation in the month before presenting for support, and 19% had ‘slept rough’.
Most clients presented to specialist homelessness agencies alone (66%), but more than one-third presented with children or were themselves children.
Domestic and family violence was the most common main reason for seeking assistance (26%). This was the most common main reason reported by females (36% of female clients), but for male clients it was ‘housing crisis’ (18% of male clients).
Service needs and assistance
The most commonly identified service need for clients was for ‘advice/information’ (72% of all support periods), followed by ‘other basic assistance’ (51%) and ‘advocacy/liaison on behalf of client’ (42%).
Short-term or emergency accommodation was identified as a need for clients in 32% of support periods, medium-term/transitional housing in 23% of support periods and long-term housing was identified as a need for clients in 26% of support periods. Accommodation was provided in 16% of all support periods in the quarter.
‘Assistance to sustain a tenancy or prevent tenancy failure or eviction’ was identified as a client need in 21% of support periods.
Based on closed support periods, some modest improvements over the quarter were evident for clients as a whole in relation to their housing situations:
- Before and at the end of support, most clients were living in a house, townhouse, or flat (65% at the beginning of support; 66% at the end of support).
- There was a small decrease in clients who had no dwelling, were living in a motor car or in an improvised dwelling (10% at the beginning of support; 7% at the end of support).
- Before and at the end of support, the most common type of tenure for clients was renting in private housing (20% both at the beginning and at the end of support).
- There was an increase in the proportion of clients renting in social housing (14% at the beginning of support; 17% at the end of support).