Knowledge and Resource Hub
29 August 2018

Sleeping rough: A profile of specialist homelessness services clients

This report from the AIHW explores the circumstances, experiences and housing outcomes of rough sleepers who sought assistance from specialist homelessness services between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2015. Rough sleepers were more likely to be male, aged 35 or over, unemployed, living alone and have mental health and/or drug or alcohol issues. Analysis of the service use patterns of rough sleepers in 2011–12 revealed 3 cohorts of rough sleepers. Persistent service users accessed services every financial year from 2011–12 to 2014–15 and accounted for 13% of all rough sleepers while service cyclers accessed services in 2 or 3 years of the 4-year period and accounted for 42% of all rough sleepers. Lastly, were transitory service users who accessed services in 2011–12 only and accounted for 44% of all rough sleepers. Service use increases with increasingly complex needs; with persistent service users having the most complex needs and being the most likely to access services. Eight in 10 reported a mental health issue, while two-thirds reported at least 2 of the 3 vulnerability conditions.  Rough sleepers most frequently sought accommodation and financial services.