Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

AIHW Releases Report Into SAAP Services

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare today released its 2008/09 Supported Accommodation Assistance Program National Data Collection Report.

The report identifies the demographics of people seeking specialist homelessness assistance and the specific services they are accessing.

The report found that the single biggest reason (45 per cent) for accessing services is domestic or family violence and relationship breakdown, followed by accommodation (20 per cent) and financial issues (13 per cent).

The report shows that the number of people supported increased by 1.2 per cent to 204,900 in 2008-2009 compared to the previous year. Of those, 125,800 were adults (up 0.2 per cent) and 79,100 were accompanying children (up 2.9 per cent).

The Homelessness White Paper recognised the need for homelessness services to respond to the specific needs of children affected by homelessness.

Women continue to be increasingly represented in accessing services, representing 62.1 per cent of all clients, compared to 56.2 per cent 2001/02.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also continue to make up 18 per cent of clients, even though they comprise only 2.2 per cent of the Australian population.

The largest group of clients by age continued to be people aged 15-19 years, at 18 per cent.

The data in the SAAP report provides a valuable starting point for further research and analysis on the needs of clients accessing specialist homelessness services.

The Rudd Government is spending $4.9 billion over four years to address homelessness, with an additional $400 million from the States and Territories, as part of an ambitious target to halve homelessness and offer accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.

This includes the $1.2 billion committed at the time of the release of the Homelessness White Paper in December 2008.

The Rudd Government is:

  • Increasing spending on homelessness services by 55 per cent as a substantial down payment on a twelve year reform agenda;
  • Increasing the supply of affordable housing homes by 80,000 over four years – 50,000 through the National Rental Affordability Scheme and 30,000 through the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan;
  • Providing an additional $80.4 million in emergency relief and financial counselling services until mid 2011 to support Australians through difficult times; and
  • Funding 41 specialist homelessness projects across our housing programs, to provide more than 1680 new units of accommodation.