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    The Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC) describes all clients who receive services from specialist homelessness agencies and the assistance they receive, including clients with psychiatric or other mental health problems.

    The SHSC includes data on the use of specialist homelessness services by clients with a current mental health issue. This section presents information provided by SHS agencies on clients with a current mental health issue for 2014–15. The data have been weighted for non-response by agencies.

    Clients are identified as having a current mental health issue if they have provided any of the following information:

    • they indicated that at the beginning of a support period they were receiving services or assistance for their mental health issues, or had in the last 12 months
    • their formal referral source to the specialist homelessness agency was a mental health service
    • they reported 'mental health issues' as a reason for seeking assistance
    • their dwelling type either a week before presenting to an agency, or when presenting to an agency, was a psychiatric hospital or unit
    • they had been in a psychiatric hospital or unit in the last 12 months
    • at some stage during their support period, a need was identified for psychological services, psychiatric services or mental health services.

    Key points

    • Of the 214,000 Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) clients aged 10 years and over in 2014–15, about 3 in 10 (63,061 or 29.5%) had a current mental health issue.
    • About half of all clients (47.5%) with a current mental health issue reported an episode of homelessness in the 12 months before presenting, compared with one third (32.7%) without a current mental health issue.
    • Of clients with a current mental health issue, those aged 18–24 had the highest rate of SHS agency use (575.4 per 100,000 population, or about 1 in 175).
    • During 2014–15, over a quarter of clients with a current mental health issue received 6–45 days (27.0%) of support, while a further 1 in 5 (21.3%) received over 6 months.

    Data in this section were last updated in July 2016.


    The Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC) began on 1 July 2011, replacing the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) National Data Collection which included data from specialist homelessness agencies from 1996 to June 2011. Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) that are funded under the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) are in scope for this collection.

    For further details regarding the scope and coverage of the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection, see the data source section.


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