The State of Homelessness in Australia’s Cities

Since 1963 we have assisted people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness to rebuild their lives and achieve positive life outcomes through our services that include accommodation, aged care, mental health support, and tenancy and property.

Research on homelessness in Australia is vital in supporting the work of St Bart’s so, today, we are sharing a report that’s the first of its kind, The State of Homelessness in Australia’s Cities: A Health and Social Cost Too High. We are also partners in the #EndHomelessnessWA initiative — see details for an event in the city tomorrow.

The new report highlights our nation’s veterans and Indigenous Australians are at significant risk of experiencing homelessness.

IMG_0112

It draws on Registry Week data spanning seven years from specialist homelessness services that have interviewed 8618 individuals experiencing homelessness across Australia’s major cities including 1662 West Australians – the second highest collected responses after Queensland.

Study lead, Centre for Social Impact director and The University of Western Australia professor Paul Flatau said more than 5 per cent of those interviewed indicated they were Australian veterans, with many suffering from serious brain injury or head trauma.

“Unlike in the USA, where the issue of veterans’ homelessness receives widespread attention, there has been limited research into the issue in Australia. Neither Census nor administrative data sources have included veterans’ status.” he said.

“Once again, Indigenous Australians were significantly over-represented overall, with nearly 20 per cent of homeless respondents’ identifying as Indigenous, despite Indigenous people making up only 2.8 per cent of the population. It’s completely unacceptable.”

Professor Flatau also said the costs to Australia’s healthcare system was estimated at nearly $25,000 per person every six months for rough sleepers who access services including emergency, ambulance and inpatient admissions.

Read the full report here.

The report coincides with the launch of the End Homelessness WA strategy.

From 6pm on Friday 13 April 2018, everyone is invited to join ‘Love Never Failed Us Yet’ to help spread the message of #EndHomelessnessWA. Starting at Hay Street Mall, opposite Wesley Church in Perth City, this will be a music event showcasing a 1000-strong choir of professionals, schools, community ensembles and groups.

For more information visit endhomelessnesswa.com/events.