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Client Needs and Supports

Salvation Army homelessness services work with highly vulnerable groups of people, many of whom have multiple and complex needs. According to Salvation Army SHS data, over 20% of clients were identified as having a current mental health issue. This is consistent with the national figure of 20% for all SHS clients, but it is considered to be an overly conservative estimate due to under-reporting.

Of clients who provided information on their last permanent address 25% reporting having no permanent place to live for six months or more. A further 22% reported being without a permanent address for one to six months [18].

Source of income
The source of income for clients accessing Salvation Army homelessness services indicates a high level of disadvantage. Over 80% of Salvation Army clients [19] reported receiving government income support payments, with 28% of clients on Newstart, 30% on Disability Support and 14% on Parenting Payment. A significant proportion of clients (14%) reported having no income at all (Figure 12).

Figure 12

National - Income Source 

Income source national

Figure 13

Income Source - Women's Services

Income source Women's Services

The sources of income reported by women [20] demonstrate a considerable variation from the overall population of clients accessing Salvation Army homelessness services. Thirteen per cent of women presenting to homelessness services reported being on Newstart and 12% on a range of disability payments. However, 19% receive Parenting Payment and 41% reported having no income at all (Figure 13). This data points to the vulnerability of many women who are escaping family violence and at risk of homelessness as many of them have no income of their own to support themselves and their families when leaving an abusive relationship.

Figure 14

Income Source - Youth Services

Income source youth services

The income source for youth [21] also varies considerably from the total Salvation Army client population. Thirty-five per cent of youth reported being on Youth Allowance (Figure 14). Only 15% of youth reported being on Newstart compared to 28% of theSalvation Army’s total homelessness population. It is significant that 8% of youth reported being on a Disability Support Pension, indicating a high level of risk and vulnerability of long term disadvantage. Nearly the same percentage of youth (13%) reported being on Parenting Payments, which indicates a high proportion of youth with dependent children (Figure 14).

[18] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.Mental Health.
Available: www.aihw.gov.au/mental-health/
[19] See data note 11.
[20] See data note 11.
[21] See data note 11.