Half of Australia’s Homeless are Under 25
4 April 2012 at 12:42 pm
Flickr image: Some rights reserved by KLW NFC
Half of Australians seeking help for homelessness are under 25 and almost twenty per cent are under 10, according to new research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The report, Specialist Homelessness Services Collection: first results, also reveals that over 90,000 people were assisted by specialist homelessness agencies in the July to September quarter last year. Of those, 59 per cent were female and 41 per cent were male.
Domestic and family violence is the most common reason for seeking assistance overall, and the most common reason for seeking assistance among females, according to the report.
Among males the most common reason for seeking assistance was ‘housing crisis’.
The AIHW says that the survey aims to provide a clearer picture of homelessness based on people’s experiences, rather than the number of services provided, and for the first time counts children as individual clients.
“Of these clients, 18 per cent were aged under 10 and 50 per cent were aged under 25,” AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck said.
“At least one-third of people presenting to specialist homelessness agencies were with children or were children themselves, while the remaining two-thirds presented alone.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were significantly over-represented, with 19 per cent of those seeking homelessness assistance of Indigenous origin.
Homelessness Australia’s policy and research officer, Travis Gilbert, said that the high number of young people supported by homelessness agencies in such a short space of time was “disturbing”.
“The results of the research confirm that youth homelessness is a significant issue in Australia,” Gilbert said.
The Federal Government says it has committed to halving the rate of homelessness by 2020 investing $20 billion in housing and homelessness programs.
Addressing the ACOSS conference in Sydney last week, the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Brendan O’Connor, said: “We know that there is much more work to be done by all levels of government to make the housing market more efficient and responsive”.
Geoff Neideck said that some “modest improvements” in the housing situations of Australians were observed over the last quarter.
“For those support periods that were closed over the quarter, there was a 3 per cent drop in the number of clients who had no dwelling, were living in a car or in an improvised dwelling,” Neideck said.
“There was also an increase in the proportion of clients renting in social housing from 14 per cent at the beginning of support to 17 per cent at the end of support.”