Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

New figures shine light on homelessness

The release of the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection: first results provides a valuable insight into the challenges of homelessness, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness Brendan O’Connor said today.

The report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that young people, women and Indigenous Australians were most likely to seek help from homeless services in the three months to September 2011.

It is the first report to use data from the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC), a new way of collecting data that will provide a better understanding of homelessness in Australia.

“The report presents a detailed picture of those who turn to homelessness services for help, and points to the complex reasons for homelessness,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The new collection will be able to provide a clearer picture of clients and how their circumstances change over the course of their support, rather than tallying the number of services provided.”

The AIHW report shows that between July and September 2011:

  •  91,627 people were assisted by homelessness services
  • 50 per cent of those people were aged under 25
  • 59 per cent were women
  • 19 per cent were Indigenous Australians.

“Already, these early figures show that family and domestic violence is one of the triggers for people seeking shelter, and that young people, women, and Indigenous Australians are over-represented in the data,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Without a secure home, people struggle to find and keep jobs or stay in training or education, or to keep their kids in school.

“The Gillard Government believes all Australians deserve a safe and secure home, which is why we have made homelessness a national priority.

“We have already invested an unprecedented $5 billion in additional funding in homelessness since 2008 and we are continuing to forge strong partnerships with the states and territories governments, and the community and private sectors.

“We remain committed to tackling the complex problems of homelessness and halving homelessness by 2020.”