Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 19 May 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2022). Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data. Retrieved from https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-monthly-data
Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 24 February 2022, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-monthly-data
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022 [cited 2022 May. 19]. Available from: https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-monthly-data
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2022, Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data, viewed 19 May 2022, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/homelessness-services/specialist-homelessness-services-monthly-data
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The AIHW receives and aggregates data from around 1,600 specialist homelessness services agencies across Australia on a monthly basis. This site presents monthly data on the number of clients supported throughout each month since July 2017, by state, age and sex. Additional breakdowns by specific target groups, the reasons clients sought assistance, homelessness status, clients receiving financial support for short-term accommodation and nights in short-term accommodation are also included.
The data visualisation shows an interactive display with charts of monthly counts of clients by state and sex, separate charts for certain client groups, a population pyramid showing age and sex distributions for a selected time period and also counts of clients who sought services by their reason for seeking services. Data are available in the file available for download on this webpage.
Source data: Specialist homelessness services monthly data file (0.7MB XLS).
Please use the ‘Download’ button within the dashboard to generate image or PDF versions of the data.
Clients may access services in more than one state or territory. Therefore, the national total may be less than the sum of jurisdictions. State/territory level monthly client data are based on information from support periods active during the month within each respective state/territory.
The monthly count of clients should not be added together to determine an annual count as a client may receive assistance in more than one month. The Specialist homelessness services annual report series provides information about services provided to clients over an entire financial year (see the ‘Further information’ links).
A client’s monthly age is calculated as at the start of their first support period in the month in that jurisdiction, or at the start of the month (if the support period began in a previous month).
Cases where Sex has been recorded as ‘other’ have been combined with the category for ‘female’ for confidentiality/data quality reasons; sex = other is only applicable for support periods that started from 1 July 2019.
For each collection month, a client is counted if, in any support period active during the month:
For each collection month, a client is counted if they were 10 years or older at the start of the month and, in any support period active during the month, the client had any of the following:
The count of reasons for seeking assistance should not be added together to determine a monthly total as a client may nominate multiple reasons for seeking assistance.
From 26 March 2020, ‘COVID-19’ became an ‘other’ reason for seeking assistance. It could mean that the client and/or the agency were affected directly or indirectly by the crisis. Caution should be applied when interpreting these data because it may not mean that the client was directly impacted by COVID-19.
All clients of specialist homelessness services are considered to be either homeless or at risk of homelessness. Homelessness and at-risk status is determined by a client’s housing situation, which in turn is determined by the specific criteria described below using the following three aspects of a client’s housing situation: dwelling type, housing tenure and their conditions of occupancy.
Clients are considered to be homeless if they are living in any of the following circumstances:
Clients are considered to be at risk if they are living in any of the following circumstances:
Clients who did not provide any information regarding the three aspects of their housing situation are classified as ‘not stated’.
Homeless status (Homeless or At risk of homelessness) is based on the last known housing situation for a client in the month, derived either at the end of the month for clients still receiving a service or at the end of the last support period in the month. Clients with unknown homeless status are excluded from the ‘Homeless/At risk of homelessness’ counts.
Clients who received financial assistance for accommodation not owned by an SHS agency, such as hotels, motels and caravan parks. It excludes assistance given alongside accommodation owned or directly managed by an SHS agency (for example, refuge or crisis centres) and does not include assistance for rent or other housing costs.
Clients who received accommodation owned or directly managed by an SHS agency, such as a refuge or crisis shelter. This includes emergency accommodation arranged and paid for by an SHS agency in places such as hotels, motels and caravan parks. However, this type of accommodation may not be accurately recorded by an SHS agency. Therefore, there may be an undercount of SHS clients accommodated in short-term/emergency accommodation (as well as their associated nights in short-term/emergency accommodation).
The NSW Government initiated a number of strategies in response to COVID-19 including additional funding and supports for homelessness initiative, temporary accommodation for clients to support self-isolation, and rental subsidies to assist people in the private rental market. Most of these initiatives are outside the scope of the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection and may impact SHS client numbers in NSW.
Victoria’s provision of short term or emergency accommodation steadily increased from April to September 2020, and then decreased sharply from November 2020 however remained higher than pre-COVID. Provision of short term or emergency accommodation has been rising again since April 2021. Significant resources continued to be allocated throughout 2020-21 to meet demand and to provide safe housing exits for homeless clients. At the end of 2021, 4,000 clients are still being assisted who stated COVID-19 as a reason for presenting.
In Queensland, the Government delivered several responses to COVID-19 including:
During the COVID-19 period, the Department of Communities, in line with Department of Finance (Western Australia) instructions, reduced non-essential contract compliance requirements for services to assist organisations responding to the changing COVID-19 environment. These reductions in reporting requirements are not considered likely to have impacted on Specialist Homelessness Services Collection. In WA, relief fund grants have been available through Lotterywest and other one-off initiatives have taken place which fall outside the scope of SHSC but may influence the numbers reported. The WA Recovery Plan inthistogether outlines other current and upcoming initiatives which may provide further contextual information.
In July 2021, South Australia implemented a reform of the Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) sector and established five Alliances, to service the complex and evolving needs of clients experiencing or at risk of homelessness across South Australia. While there was little impact on the clients themselves, the data migration processes to align SHS agencies and client data records to the Alliance model has led to potential reporting errors in July to September 2021. In particular, an underreporting of clients assisted by SHS and their service provision across cohorts.
In response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Australia, the SA Housing Authority (the Authority) enacted a process for supporting people experiencing homelessness or domestic and family violence to stay in hotel / motel accommodation for the duration of the lockdown in order to comply with SA Health directions. Eligibility for hotel / motel accommodation required an individual or family to have no safe alternative access to accommodation for the duration of the lockdown and included people sleeping rough and remote visitors. Accommodation was provided for the duration of the lockdown, at no cost to clients and outside the Authority’s standard Emergency Assistance Program eligibility criteria. To facilitate exits for people accommodated during the lockdown, the Authority supported a coordinated approach with local homelessness service providers to identify a priority housing list of clients who required longer term housing and support, with extended hotel/motel support provided to those clients who were on the priority housing list and awaiting a housing allocation. Prioritised housing includes short-term public housing, crisis and transitional accommodation and supportive housing. The Authority and SHS providers are working together to support homelessness clients impacted by COVID-19 isolation or quarantine requirements through existing funded programs, or where necessary for health and safety, referral to SA Health for accommodation in SA Health managed medi-hotels.
In Tasmania, the Government introduced a Housing and Homelessness Support Package to assist people in housing stress and at risk of homelessness in response to COVID-19. This included uncapped brokerage funding to assist people to access emergency accommodation if required. Additionally, funding for Safe Spaces was introduced to deliver 24/7 models of care in three regions to assist people who are homeless to access day and night services. Complementing the Safe Spaces program has been the introduction of new clinical mental health services and telephone health screening for homeless Tasmanians during the COVID 19 emergency period. This has enhanced the availability of services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, with the aim of improving long term housing outcomes.
In response to COVID, the ACT has provided funding for (a) accommodation support for both emergency and long-term accommodation for clients dealing with physical distancing in shelters, self-isolation or quarantine, (b) support services to clients in short- to medium-term accommodation to promote stability, (c) an increase in demand for family and domestic violence and sexual assault services, (d) brokered accommodation in motels and hotels, via the central intake system, for clients who cannot be accommodated through SHS, (e) new accommodation programs including temporary shelters for rough sleepers, men and for women with children. Additionally, the ACT’s Housing First program (Axial Housing) has been expanded to provide assistance to more rough sleepers. The ACT has also expanded Winter Lodge from a 6-month to a 12-month operation and transformed Winter Lodge into a place for not only crisis but also transitional accommodation for men experiencing homelessness in the ACT.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern Territory Government implemented a Return to Country program in collaboration with a range of non-government organisations to facilitate Aboriginal people returning to their home communities from urban regional centres. In addition, the Australian Government imposed biosecurity zones between March 26 and June 5 around remote communities in the NT. Visitors were required to quarantine for 14 days prior to entering these zones. Together, these policies restricted the movement of people between remote communities and the urban regional centres where SHS agencies are based. This would have resulted in a reduction in the number of prospective clients for SHS agencies.
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