Salvation Army Homelessness Report

The Salvation Army just released a report on their recent research into homeless in Australia. The study found the following:

  •   155 Salvation Army homelessness services operate across Australia.
  •  More than 310,000 accommodation days were provided between 1 July 2012 and 31 December 2012
  •  53% of women accessing Salvation Army SHS women’s services identified domestic and family violence as their main presenting issue.
  • 44% of clients accessing Salvation Army SHS services identified housing affordability or housing crisis as their main presenting issue.
  • One in five (20%) of clients accessing Salvation Army SHS services who provided information on their mental health have been diagnosed with a mental health issue.
  • One out of every eight clients who accesses all Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) in Australia accesses a Salvation Army service.
  • 17% of Salvation Army clients identified financial difficulty as their main presenting issue.
  • 25% of clients accessing Salvation Army homelessness services have been homeless for more than six months.
  • Over 80% of Salvation Army SHS clients identified government support payments as their main source of income.

Fact: On any given night at least 99,000 Australians are homeless (2001 census, Australian Bureau of Statistics).

101 people found sleeping rough in Melbourne City

The Age reported the following to this years Street count:

  • 101 people were found to be sleeping rough (on park benches or doorways etc)
  • 87 were male
  • 80% of those counted were between 25-60 years of age
  • 54 out of the 101 were surveyed and it was found that 2/3 had been homeless for more than 2 years.  16 people had been homeless for more than 5 years.  

Click here to see previous street counts.  

It’s important to view these reports and stats with some perspective.  Firstly the street count is done every year in winter – meaning that numbers may be smaller due to the cold.  Also we know that only 16% of homeless people sleep rough (the rest are staying at friends/relatives or some form of temporary accommodation).  This means that the street count reflects the most visible and obvious of the homeless amongst us.  This is also reflected by the fact that 87 of those found sleeping rough were men.  Other statistics tell us that the homeless population is very close to 50-50 male-female.  So why then were mostly men found on the streets? Perhaps it is because women/children/teenagers are seen as more vulnerable and ‘worthy’ of receiving the limited crisis and temporary accommodation available.  Perhaps what the street count really shows us is the forgotten of the forgotten people amongst our city.