Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be over-represented in both the national homeless population and as users of specialist homelessness services (SHSs).
Data recently released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) as part of its Specialist Homelessness 2015-2016 report has confirmed this, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people making up 24 per cent of those accessing specialist homelessness services in 2015–16: an estimated 61,700 clients. This is to be compared with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people making up approximately 3 per cent of the total Australian population.
Homelessness NSW has commenced a project to respond to the growing rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander homelesseness. As a starting point, we are initiating discussions with Specialist Homelessness Services and other agencies working specifically with Aboriginal clients and who have expertise in supporting Aboriginal people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This may be in the area of preventing and addressing Aboriginal homelessness and/or building up organisational capacity.