26 September 2023

AIHW reports on homeless veterans

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The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has revealed that more than 1,200 former service personnel with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) found themselves homeless between 2011 and 2017.

The report, Use of Homelessness Services by Contemporary Ex-serving ADF Members: 2011–17, brings together information from different data sources.

Spokesperson for the AIHW, Michael Frost said that of the 109,000 contemporary ex-serving ADF members, 1.1 per cent used specialist homelessness services across six years.

“This compares with 3.4 per cent of the Australian population over the same period,” Mr Frost said.

“When ex-serving ADF members started using these services, more than half (54 per cent) had housing but were at risk of becoming homeless, and 46 per cent were homeless. This is consistent with the data for the wider Australian population who use homelessness services.”

The report found that male and female ex-serving ADF members had different living and housing situations when they first accessed specialist homelessness services.

“Ex-serving ADF members who used specialist homelessness services were more likely to be women, to have discharged before the age of 25, and to have served for less than five years,” Mr Frost said.

“Half of ex-serving men (50 per cent) were homeless when they started using services and the other half were at risk of becoming homeless, whereas 29 per cent of ex-serving women were homeless, and 71 per cent were at risk of becoming homeless.”

He said the report found that ex-serving men tended to live alone (56 per cent), compared with ex-serving women (21 per cent). Nearly half of ex-serving women (46 per cent) were single parents when they first used the services, compared with eight per cent of ex-serving men.

“Homelessness can profoundly affect a person’s mental and physical health, their education and employment opportunities, and their ability to participate fully in social and community life,” Mr Frost said.

A summary report of the AIHW’s findings can be accessed at this PS News link.

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