Homelessness – a new report reveals issues

(Australian Associated Press)


Almost one in three of Australians in need of shelter who reach out to homelessness services are unable to secure accommodation, a new report shows.

Nearly 300,000 Australians received support from specialist homelessness agencies in the past financial year, according to the Productivity Commission report released on Tuesday.

The federal, state and territory governments spent $817.4 million tackling homelessness in 2016/17, equating to an average of $34.89 per client each day.

The average daily cost has increased by 13.4 per cent in real terms since 2012/13.

Almost 96 per cent of this funding was provided to agencies delivering services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

However, across the country 30.2 per cent of clients with an identified need for accommodation did not have this need met in 2016/17, an increase from 22.1 per cent in 2012/13.

A further 179 unassisted requests for accommodation services were made on average across the country each day.

The number of clients placed on agreed case management plans has improved, along with the number of people who secure independent housing after receiving support.

However, the proportion of clients who experienced homelessness more than once has increased from 3.5 per cent in 2012/13 to 5.3 per cent in 2016/17.

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients who experienced repeat homelessness in 2016/17 was higher at 6.4 per cent.

Indigenous Australians accessed specialist homelessness services at a much higher rate than their representation in the population.

The Productivity Commission report also showed state and territory governments spent $3.9 billion on social housing in the 2016/17, an increase of $100 million on the previous year.

The number of public housing dwellings has fallen over the decade, but the number of households in properties managed by the community housing sector has increased.

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