About 30% of people who received support from specialist homelessness agencies between January and March 2012, presented in families, and the most common type of family group to receive support were single people with children, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The next most common family group to receive homelessness support was 'couples with children'.
The report, Specialist Homelessness Services Collection: March quarter 2012, shows that the average size of all family groups receiving assistance was 3.1 people.
The report also found that women are more likely than men to receive assistance for homelessness, and this proportion rises with increased remoteness. 'For example, 57% of clients were female in Major cities, compared with 82% in Very remote areas,' said AIHW spokesperson Mr Geoff Neideck.
'There was also an over-representation of Indigenous people, especially outside of major cities―while 14% of clients in Major cities identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, this proportion increased to 76% in Remote areas and 93% in Very remote areas,' Mr Neideck said.
In the March quarter 2012, almost 102,400 clients were assisted by specialist homelessness agencies across Australia, and on any given night in this period almost 18,600 clients were accommodated.
Accommodation was provided in 34% of all support periods, with most accommodation being short-term or emergency accommodation.
Domestic and family violence was the most common reason for seeking assistance-it was the reason given in almost a quarter of cases.
In 19% of support periods, clients had 'slept rough' in the month before presenting for support.
Overall, there were fewer clients living without shelter or in inadequate dwellings at the end of support periods (4% of closed support periods, compared with 7% at the beginning of these support periods).
There was also a drop in the proportion of clients who had no housing tenure at the end of support (25% of closed support periods, compared with 29% at the beginning).
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
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