Latest data on homelessness

14 March 2018
Two hands holding a cardboard house

Sacred Heart Mission is not surprised the latest Census data reveals an 11 per cent rise in Victorian homelessness and 14 per cent rise across Australia.

In the 2016 Census, released today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed 24,817 Victorians were counted as experiencing homelessness, up from 22,306 in 2011.

Sacred Heart Mission CEO Cathy Humphrey says this means 27 per cent of Australia’s homeless population live in Victoria, which has the second highest rate of homelessness nationally.

“When you break the data down, you can see the rise in homelessness is mostly reflected in the number of people living in severely crowded dwellings, supported accommodation and boarding houses,” Cathy says.

“This proves the housing crisis affecting all Australians is felt most significantly by the community’s most vulnerable people; namely those experiencing social and economic disadvantage.”

The rate of people sleeping rough was recorded at 3.5 persons per 10,000 people, or 8,200 people in total, which represents only the surface of a more deeply embedded and complex issue.

“We join our sector partners in advocating for continued government intervention through the increased provision of accessible, safe and affordable social housing,” Cathy says.

“We also want a commitment from the Australian Government to address this issue at a Federal policy level.”

These Census results are evidence for the need for increased investment in innovative and evidence-informed service responses, such as our Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) program, which successfully supports people to exit the cycle of long-term homelessness.

“In the final year of phase two of J2SI, we have seen promising outcomes for our participants, with more than 86 per cent in sustainable housing and 20 per cent in employment,” Cathy says.

“We are committed to the campaign to end homelessness and wholeheartedly support the sector in advocating on behalf of society’s most vulnerable people.”

The release of the 2016 census results this week, has been a long-awaited event, as it is the first clear estimate of how many Australians are experiencing homelessness since the 2011 Census was conducted.

Further 2016 Census homelessness data can be found on the ABS website.