The geographical distribution of homeless people
journal contributionposted on 05.05.2017 by Chamberlain, Chris
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The Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) is Australia’s flagship program to assist homeless people. In 1996-97, it funded just under 1,200 non-government services across the country to provide accommodation and support services for homeless people. The dominant assumption underpinning current funding arrangements is that the homeless population is distributed in the same way as the general population, and funding is allocated on a population pro rata basis. This paper argues that the assumption is incorrect. There were 105,000 homeless people across the country on census night 1996. However, there were between 40 and 50 homeless people per 10,000 of the population in the four ‘Southern States’ (New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania). In Western Australia and Queensland, there were between 70 and 80 homeless people per 10,000 of the population. In the Northern Territory, there were 520 per 10,000, mainly due to indigenous people living in improvised dwellings. These findings raise major policy and planning issues for SAAP. Copyright. Monash University and the author/s