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Aug 12 2017

Homeless in Australia

Homeless in Australia 1996 to 2011 Statistics

Australia is a reasonably well off country, with quite good social services and welfare resources. However, the country still has a number of homeless people, although normally about 90% of the official number actually have somewhere to live. This accommodation may not be ideal, or with long term security.  Living with friends and relatives is the most common form of Homelessness for young people.

The numbers sleeping rough have been reducing, at each census: 8,946 in 2001, 7,247 in 2006, 6,813 in 2011.

According to the Australian National Census, the overall numbers have been:

Homeless Numbers in Australia According to Census Data:

  • 2016: to be confirmed in 2018
  • 2011: 105,237 people were homeless on Census night, 9 August 2011, or 0.5% of the Australian population
  • 2006: 89,728 people were homeless on Census night.
  • 2001: 95,314  people were homeless on Census night.
  • 1996: 105,304  people were homeless on Census night.

Of the 105,237 homeless people on Census night 2011, most were sheltered somewhere:

41,390 (39%) were living in severely crowded dwellings
21,258 (20%) were living in supported accommodation for the homeless
17,721 (17%) were living in boarding houses
17,369 (17%) were living were staying temporarily with friends or relatives
686 (1%) were living in other accommodation.
6,813 (6%) were sleeping rough

Of the 89,728 homeless people on Census night 2006, most were sheltered somewhere:

31,531 (35%) were living in severely crowded dwellings
17,663 (20%) were staying temporarily with friends or relatives
17,329 (19%) were staying in supported accommodation (hostels for the homeless, night shelters and refuges)
15,460 (20%) were staying in boarding houses
7,247 (8%) were living in Improvised Dwellings or Sleeping rough.

Of the 95,314 homeless people on Census night 2001, most were sheltered somewhere:

33,430 (35%) were living in severely crowded dwellings
21,300 (22%) were staying in boarding houses
17,880 (19%) were staying temporarily with friends or relatives
13,420 (14%) were staying in supported accommodation
8,946 (9%) were living in Improvised Dwellings or Sleeping rough

Of the 105,304 homeless people on Census night 1996, most were sheltered somewhere:

There were 105,304 people classified as Homeless in the 1996 Australian Census

48,500 living with Friends and Relatives (46.1%) (this might include some from the severely crowded dwellings)
23,299 living in boarding houses (22.1%)
12,969 living in supported accommodation SAAP (12.3%)
20,579 living in Improvised Dwellings or Sleeping rough (19.5%) (this might include some from the severely crowded dwellings)

 

Sleeping Rough Definition:

  • in improvised dwellings or tents, or in streets, parks, cars or derelict buildings.

1996 Homeless in Australia, by State.

Victoria had the lowest rate of Homelessness in Australia, with 4.1 homeless per 100,000 people, and the Northern Territory had the highest rate at 5,230 per 100,00 people.

17,840 (41.0 per 10,000) Homeless in Victoria in 1996
2,014 (43.9 per 10,000) Homeless in Tasmania in 1996
6,837 (48.1 per 10,000) Homeless in South Australia in 1996
29,608 (49.4 per 10,000) Homeless in New South Wales in 1996
12,252 (71.5 per 10,000) Homeless in Western Australia in 1996
24,649 (77.3 per 10,000) Homeless in Queensland in 1996
9,900 (523 per 10,000) Homeless in Northern Territory in 1996

Note the definition for homeless in Australia:

People without conventional accommodation (living on the streets, in deserted buildings, improvised dwellings, in parks, etc.).
People staying in boarding houses, people using Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) and other similar emergency accommodation services, or people with no secure accommodation staying temporarily with friends or relatives in private dwellings.

The split of homeless between the States, was:

State 2011 2006 2001 1996
New South Wales tba 27,374 26,676 29,608
Queensland tba 26,782 24,569 24,649
Victoria tba 20,511 20,305 17,840
Western Australia tba 13,391 11,697 12,252
South Australia tba 7,962 7,586 6,837
Northern Territory tba 4,785 5,423 9,900
Tasmania tba 2,507 2,415 2,014
Australian Capital Territory tba 1,364 1,229 tba

The most common reasons for homelessness, according to an SAAP survey, were:

22% Domestic and family violence
11% Eviction/previous accommodation ended
11% Relationship/family breakdown
11% Usual accommodation unavailable
10% Financial Difficulty

The largest group of Homeless are single people (72%), who are unemployed and not looking for work (59%).

Looking at the above figures, it seems that 1,575, out of the 105,000 total, are homeless due to Financial Difficulty, with 930 of these unemployed and not looking for work.

What does Australia do to help the homeless:

In Australia the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) is a joint Commonwealth and state government program which provides funding for more than 1,200 organisations which are aimed to assist homeless people or those in danger of becoming homeless.

How does Australia compare to other Countries for homelessness:

From www.homelessworldcup.org there are the following statistics:

  • Australia: 100,000 people sleep on the streets of Australia everyday.
  • Brazil: 20 million homeless people.
  • Columbia: 9,654,722 homeless people in Columbia
  • France: 1 million people are homeless in France
  • India: 78 million homeless people in India
  • Indonesia: 3,000,000 homeless people in Indonesia
  • Nigeria: 24.4 million people estimated homeless population by 2015
  • Philippines: 32.8 million live in Slums
  • Russia: An estimated 5 million people are homeless in Russia
  • United Kingdom: The UK has one of the highest levels of homelessness in Europe with more than 4 people per 1,000 estimated to be homeless

Now, I am not sure how accurate the above is, especially after seeing the 100,000 for Australia, when the source quoted is the ABS who actually state about 16,000 sleeping rough, not 100,00. However, these figures do give us a starting point to realise that many people worldwide do not have a regular home.

Sources:

2011 ABS Census
2006 ABS Census
2001 ABS Census
1996 ABS Census

2001 to 2011 ABS Homeless Graphic

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