Housing situation and housing outcomes
Information about older SHS client’s housing situation at the beginning and end of support is useful for understanding the needs of clients when they present to agencies as well as their outcomes following SHS support. The housing situation of SHS clients is categorised as those who were:
- homeless (no shelter/improvised dwelling, short term accommodation, and couch surfer/no tenure), or
- at risk of homelessness (public/community housing, private/other housing and Institutional setting).
The following analysis is limited to those whose housing situation at the start of support was known, that is, it excludes clients whose housing situation was not stated.
Housing situation at the start of support: homeless vs at risk of homelessness
In 2017–18, there were just over 20,800 older SHS clients presenting to agencies as either experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Of these older SHS clients:
- One-third (33% or 6,900 clients) presented experiencing homelessness; comprising of more males (4,100 clients) than females (2,800), and
- 2 in 3 (67% or 13,900 clients) presented at risk of homelessness; comprising of more females (8,300 clients) than males (5,500) (Figure 6).
(See the Housing outcomes section below for information on the housing situation of older SHS clients at the end of SHS support.)
Of all states and territories, Queensland had the highest proportion of older clients presenting to SHS agencies experiencing homelessness (43% or just over 1,000 clients). In terms of numbers, Victoria had the greatest number of clients reporting to SHS agencies as homeless (2,700 clients).
Change over time
From 2013–14 to 2017–18 (Figure 6):
- The number of older homeless SHS clients increased from 4,700 to 6,900 and the number of clients at risk of homelessness increased from 9,900 to 13,900.
- The largest increase in the number of clients was females aged 55–64 who were at risk of homelessness; from around 3,800 clients in 2013–14 to 5,200 in 2017–18.
- Overall, the average annual increase in the number of clients was 9%; similar for homeless (10%) and at risk clients (9%).
- The highest average annual increase among older clients was homeless females aged 75 and over (increasing 28% on average per year, from 70 clients in 2013–14 to 200 in 2017–18) (Supplementary table 2).
The housing outcomes of SHS clients can be examined by considering the housing situation at the beginning and end of support, for those clients with a closed support period. The following analysis focuses on the clients who had a known housing situation at the beginning of support (excluding around those whose housing situation was not stated/other). In 2017–18, there were around 19,500 older SHS clients with closed support periods, with around 4,000 excluded from the analyses below due to unknown housing situation information at the start of support.
In 2017–18, of the 15,500 older SHS clients with closed support (and known housing situation at the start of support), most (10,400 clients or 67%) were at risk of homelessness upon presentation to the SHS agency, and most of these (9,600 clients or 92%) were able to maintain housing (Figure 7).
There were a further 5,200 (33%) older clients who presented to SHS agencies experiencing homelessness. Of these, 3,100 (61% of homeless clients) were homeless and 1,700 (33%) clients were no longer experiencing homelessness at the end of support. At the end of SHS support, there were similar numbers of people in short term temporary accommodation (1,200 clients), rough sleeping (900) and couch surfing (1,100).
In 2017–18, at the beginning of support, males were more likely than females to present to SHS agencies experiencing homelessness (42% for males and 26% for females). Males were more likely to present sleeping rough or in short term temporary accommodation while females were more likely to present as couch surfers. At the end of SHS support, there were fewer males (29%) and females (18%) experiencing homelessness.