ABS data shows homelessness touches us all

“The estimated number of people experiencing homelessness in Western Australia has remained persistent between the 2011 and 2016 Census, with over 9000 people experiencing homeless on any one night. These numbers remain unacceptably high,” said Shelter WA CEO Michelle Mackenzie. “As a community we can take major steps to end homelessness now.”

The 2016 Census of Population and Housing Estimating Homelessness Data shows that homelessness does not discriminate – it touches people of all ages, genders, cultures and regions across Western Australia.

“We cannot continue to ignore this situation; the number of children experiencing homelessness is alarming. Safe, secure and affordable housing provides the platform for children to attend school, people to be healthy and communities to thrive.”

Whilst the statistics are sobering, the ABS acknowledges the data is an estimate and provides limited opportunity to estimate key groups including homeless youth, victims of family and domestic violence and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islanders. Key groups impacted by homelessness across Western Australia.

“Homelessness is not a choice. It indicates a systemic failure of the housing system, including a lack of affordable housing options, services that prevent homelessness and those that support people to maintain and sustain tenancies. “Homelessness services continue to be chronically underfunded, unable to meet demand.” said Ms Mackenzie.

With a social housing waitlist of over 14,000 people, greater State and Federal government investment in social housing and community services are critical, along with reform to current legislation that entrenches housing disadvantage.

Homelessness touches all walks of life.  Ending homelessness is our collective responsibility.  We all have a part to play.

Fast Facts

  • 116,427 people were experiencing homelessness on Australia on Census night: 50 homeless people for every 10,000 Australians.

Key Western Australian estimates include:

  • 9,005 people experienced homelessness on Census night: a 2 per decrease from the 2011 Census figure of 9,191.
  • The rate of homelessness per 10,000 people fell 11% from the previous Census
  • The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander homelessness was 344.6 persons per 10,000: a rate more than 13 times the non-Indigenous population

Of these people:

  • 1200 were children were under the age of 12
  • 3132 were people under the age of 25
  • 1508 people were over the age of 55

More information can be found here