Specialist Homelessness Services

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its annual report on Specialist Homelessness Services, detailing the characteristics of clients on Specialist Homelessness Services, the services requested, outcomes achieved and unmet requests during 2017-18.

A greater proportion of WA clients needed accommodation compared with the national SHS population (58 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively).

While the overall service use rate was lower in WA in 2017–18 than the previous year, a higher service use rate was reported for groups such as young people presenting alone and older people.

Shelter WA is concerned that only one in 109 people in WA received homelessness assistance during 2017-18, which is lower than the national rate (1 in 85). The top three reasons for clients seeking assistance were family and domestic violence (43 per cent, compared with 39 per cent nationally), financial difficulties (37 per cent, compared with 39 per cent nationally), and relationship or family breakdown (23 per cent, compared with 21 per cent nationally). The report states that domestic and family violence is the main reason women and children leave their homes in Australia and is consistently one of the most common reasons clients seek assistance from specialist homelessness services.

The evidence shows the critical need for ongoing, sustained and long-term certainty for increased investment in homelessness services. The evidence indicates many services are stretched and are unable to meet current demand.

Of the 6,200 clients who began support while experiencing homelessness, 30 per cent were assisted into housing. Of these clients 51 per cent were housed in public or community housing, while 45 per cent were housed in private or other housing.

Of the 9,600 clients who began support while in housing but at risk of homelessness, Shelter WA was pleased to see that 90 per cent were assisted to maintain housing.

To read the report in full click here.

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