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Issue #1579      January 30, 2013

New homelessness data confirms high demand

Data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in December showed that around 230,000 people were supported by specialist homelessness services in 2011-12, of whom 56 percent were people at risk of becoming homeless and were assisted by specialist homelessness services to stay housed. This is consistent with the number supported in 2010-11. Of grave concern, around one fifth of those who received support were children aged under 10.

“While the number of people supported remains high, the positive news is that services assisted 128,378 people who were at risk of homelessness to address the issues placing them at risk and to remain stably housed.” Narelle Clay, Chairperson of Homelessness Australia said.

The data showed that children, young people, Indigenous Australians and women escaping domestic and family violence were the most likely to seek support from specialist homelessness services.

“It is concerning that we continue to see high numbers of very young children needing support from homelessness services, usually in the care of a mother fleeing domestic violence. We need to ensure that where possible they are supported to remain safely in the family home or at least in their community. Equally concerning was the large number of young people aged 18-24 who received support from specialist homelessness services last year. This is a serious concern”, said Nicole Lawder, CEO of Homelessness Australia.

The data shows that in the overwhelming majority of cases clients were able to have their support needs met. Health and medical services were the most needed specialist services for the homelessness, and one in five people seeking help had a mental health issue.

More about Homelessness Australia: www.homelessness.org.au  

Next article – Vic govt’s TAFE cuts cause major drop in enrolments

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