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The latest report on health and welfare shows a quarter of those seeking help for homelessness are Indigenous people.
15 Dec 2016 - 5:05 PM  UPDATED 15 Dec 2016 - 5:05 PM

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report shows the demand for help from homeless people has jumped by nearly 10 per cent, with more than a third reaching out for support because of domestic violence.

The report shows that while 57,000 people were helped every day, another 275 daily requests for help couldn't be met. Support services across the country helped 279,000 people between mid 2015 and mid 2016. This was 14,000 more than the previous year.

The growth in the number of Indigenous people and older people needing help was also nearly twice the rate of the overall rise in client numbers for homelessness support services.

The number of Indigenous people who received help jumped 16 per cent to 61,700.

Of those, more than half were aged under 25 and one in four were children aged under 10. A quarter needed help because of a housing crisis, and about a fifth were trying to flee domestic or family violence.

More than 21,600 people aged 55 or older also received help, up 15 per cent on the previous year. Most were women and more than half lived alone.

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Housing affordability and domestic violence

AIHW spokesperson Anna Ritson said more than half of everyone who received help did so because of housing affordability and financial difficulties, an issue that has been a steady trend for the past three years.

"For over 20 per cent of clients, mental health, medical issues or substance use were among the reasons for seeking specialist homelessness support," she said.

About 106,000 people, mostly women, needed help to escape domestic or family violence, 14 per cent more than a year ago. Nearly half were single parents with at least one child.

Ms Ritson said the rise in the number of people seeking support due to domestic and family violence outpaced the nine per cent growth in overall client numbers.

"It is important to note that increases in client numbers generally reflect the increased availability and accessibility of services, not necessarily a change in the underlying level of homelessness or domestic and family violence in Australia," she said as the report was released today.

The report also found that fewer people needing help were having their requests turned down.

On average, 275 requests were knocked back each day, 16 per cent fewer than the previous year.

"There may be a range of reasons an agency cannot assist a person," the report said.

"For example, the person may be seeking a specialised service not offered by that particular agency, or the agency may not have the capacity to provide assistance at that time."

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The Numbers at a glace

- 279,000 people received help from homelessness agencies in 2015/16

- On average, 57,000 people were helped each day

- Six in 10 were female

- One in four people were Indigenous

- Two in five people sought help for domestic and family violence

- Each day, 275 requests for help were unable to be met.

(Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT.

In an emergency call triple-zero.