One in every 126 Australians received help from the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) in 2005-06 according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Of the 161,200 people who received assistance, 106,500 were clients and 54,700 were accompanying children, said Anne Giovanetti, Head of the Institute's Supported Accommodation and Crisis Services Unit.
The report, Homeless people in SAAP: SAAP National Data Collection annual report 2005-06, showed that the majority of those receiving assistance were female.
'In particular, young females aged 15-19 years were the most likely group to become a SAAP client (1 in every 57 young women in this age group).
'Accompanying children aged 0-4 years also had a high rate of use (1 in every 57 children in this age group),' Ms Giovanetti said.
The majority of clients and accompanying children had only one period of support during the year, but repeat use was slightly higher for older male clients.
SAAP agencies were able to meet the needs of clients and accompanying children directly in the majority of cases. Needs for basic support services, such as meals and shower facilities, were able to be met most often. Needs for specialist services, like specialist counselling and health or medical care, were the least likely to be provided directly.
In general, the circumstances of clients improved following support, particularly for those supported for longer periods.
'The majority of SAAP clients had a case management plan in place before the end of their support, and most of the goals specified in the plans were achieved by the end of support,' Ms Giovanetti said.
Most clients and accompanying children were born in Australia and did not identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were overrepresented in SAAP when compared with the general Australian population.
In 2005-06, recurrent funding directly to the 1,300 SAAP agencies was $333.4m. In real terms, this was 26% more than the funding provided to agencies in 1996-97.
The Supported Accommodation Assistance Program is the major government response to homelessness and statistics on the Program are regularly reported by the AIHW. This report provides an overview of assistance given to clients and their accompanying children by the program during the financial year 2005-06, and is accompanied by state and territory supplementary reports.
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