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Salvation Army releases first National Homelessness Report

The Salvation Army has released a first of its kind data snapshot of its homelessness services and the people it assists on a daily basis.

As the largest provider of homelessness services in Australia, the report reveals that 22,594 people were assisted by the Salvos in the six months from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2012.

This important national report identifies that large numbers of disadvantaged Australians attribute their desperate homeless situations to family and domestic violence, a lack of affordable housing, and poverty. Fifty-three per cent of women for example, accessed Salvation Army women’s homelessness services to escape family and domestic violence situations.

The Salvation Army’s Dr Bruce Redman said, “This report shows for the first time the extent of The Salvation Army’s work with homeless people across Australia. It emphasises our strong commitment to working with people with complex needs, often with no one else to turn to.”

As the largest provider of homelessness services in Australia, the report reveals that 22,594 people were assisted by the Salvos in the six months from 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2012.

“Our 155 homelessness services tell us that their clients struggle to find somewhere to live. The report confirms this, with 44% of people turning to the Salvos because of issues associated with housing affordability and housing crisis.  This is still a major national social problem that needs resolving,” he said.

“The Christmas period is truly the most difficult time of year for families and individuals in need. We urge Australians to remember the women, men and children who will not share in the joy and hope of Christmas time, who don’t have family to turn to, and who don’t have a roof over their heads. Australians can make a huge difference to those experiencing hardship by making a donation to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal this year,” said Dr Redman.

In December The Salvation Army will assist three times more people compared to any other month. Over the Christmas period the Salvos will provide assistance on over 300,000 occasions. On Christmas Day over 8,000 people who do not have somewhere to celebrate will share in a Christmas meal at a Salvation Army centre.

The Salvation Army Homelessness Report shows:

  • 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.

People can make a difference to those experiencing hardship by making a donation to the Christmas Appeal online or by calling 13 SALVOS.

For further information or media comment please contact:

Dr Bruce Redman – Media Relations Director
The Salvation Army – Australia Southern Territory (Vic., SA, Tas., WA & NT)
T. 03 8878 2448
M. 0417 537 950
E. bruce.redman@aus.salvationarmy.org