Single Parent Families Most Vulnerable to Homelessness
24 September 2012 at 1:28 pm
Single parent families are most likely to receive homelessness support according to a new report. Source: AIHW
Single parents are the most common type of family group to receive support from homelessness agencies, according to a new report.
The report, Homelessness Services Collection: March quarter 2012, by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) tracked the use of homelessness services between January and March 2012 and revealed that about 30% of people who received support from specialist agencies were families.
It also found that the average size of all family groups receiving assistance was 3.1 people, while the second most common family group to receive homelessness support was couples with children.
AIHW spokesperson, Geoff Neideck, said that women were more likely than men to receive assistance for homelessness and that this proportion rises with increased remoteness.
“For example, 57% of clients were female in major cities, compared with 82% in very remote areas,” Neideck said.
“There was also an over-representation of Indigenous people, especially outside of major cities – while 14% of clients in major cities identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, this proportion increased to 76% in remote areas and 93% in very remote areas.”
However, there were a number of positive results to come out of the report, including statistics showing fewer people were living without shelter after seeking help.
The Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Brendan O’Connor, praised specialist homelessness services for “having a positive impact on reducing homelessness and helping people struggling with housing get back on their feet”.
However, O’Connor also warned that while the report shows an apparent increase in the number of people being assisted between the last three months of 2011 and the first three months of 2012, the figures cannot be directly compared as there are still some services to come on board with their data.
“These figures are not a count of homeless people, but they build into our understanding of homelessness and how we measure our progress towards halving homelessness by 2020, and our interim target of a 20 per cent reduction by 2013,” O’Connor said.
“These figures also cannot be compared to the ABS estimate of 90,000 people homeless on Census night 2006, as that was a snapshot of one night while these figures cover all people being assisted over a three month period.
“Using this research, including the AIHW figures, the ABS Census data and Journeys Home, the first longitudinal study of homelessness in Australia, we will have the best understanding of homelessness and how best to direct our resources to tackle this challenge.”
Other key findings include:
In the March quarter 2012, almost 102,400 clients were assisted by specialist homelessness agencies across Australia, and on any given night in this period almost 18,600 clients were accommodated.
Accommodation was provided in 34% of all support periods, with most accommodation being short-term or emergency accommodation.
Domestic and family violence was the most common reason for seeking assistance-it was the reason given in almost a quarter of cases.
In 19% of support periods, clients had 'slept rough' in the month before presenting for support.
Overall, there were fewer clients living without shelter or in inadequate dwellings at the end of support periods (4% of closed support periods, compared with 7% at the beginning of these support periods).
- There was also a drop in the proportion of clients who had no housing tenure at the end of support (25% of closed support periods, compared with 29% at the beginning).