Governments across Australia fund a range of services to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. These services are delivered by non-government organisations including agencies specialising in delivering services to specific target groups (such as young people or people experiencing domestic and family violence), as well as those that provide more generic services to people facing housing crises.
Homelessness is a complex issue, involving more than just a lack of housing. Factors that may increase a person's risk of becoming or remaining homeless can include:
People experiencing homelessness may access a wide range of general government services, including:
Many Australians experience events in their life that may place them at risk of homelessness. It is estimated that half (50%) of lower income households experience affordability issues due to rental stress (paying more than 30% of their gross income on housing costs), and around 1 in 6 women have experienced some form of domestic and family violence in their lifetime, putting them at risk of homelessness.
Specialist homelessness agencies vary considerably in size and in the types of assistance they provide. Across Australia, agencies provide services aimed at prevention and early intervention, crisis and post-crisis assistance to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. For example, some agencies focus specifically on assisting people experiencing homelessness, while others deliver a broader range of services, including youth intervention services and domestic and family violence services. Assistance ranges from basic, short-term interventions, such as advice and information, through to more specialised, time-intensive services such as financial advice and professional legal services.
The Specialist Homelessness Services Collection commenced in July 2011 and is the main source of current data about these services. Every year the AIHW produces reports on the collection that describe:
Web report |
07 Oct 2022
25 Aug 2022
Web report |
07 Jun 2022
278,300 clients were assisted by SHS agencies in 2020–21; more than 1.4 million clients since 2011–12
More than half of SHS clients in 2020–21 had received SHS assistance at some point since the collection began in 2011–12
Females are the main recipients of specialist homelessness services
Financial difficulties and family and domestic violence are among the most common reasons for seeking assistance
Employment at some time during the defining study period had a strong association with past or future SHS support
26% of the 2015–16 general cohort were long-term clients that needed SHS support over the 10-year period
More reports and statistics on homelessness services can be found under Housing assistance. The AIHW’s Housing data dashboard also contains the latest housing and homelessness data from over 20 national data sets, brought together in one place.
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