Specialist Homelessness Services annual report confirms our daily experience

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Specialist Homelessness Services Annual Report 2018-19, on any given day in Australia:

  • 1,580 specialist homelessness services supported almost 65,800 clients 
  • Over 18,200 of them were children in families
  • 253 requests for assistance were unable to be met


At Unison, we know full well the housing crisis we are facing through our homelessness services in Melbourne’s West. Our service response focuses on meeting the needs of individual clients as they come through our doors as each household has a range of unique circumstances and needs. 

The AIHW data has shown that Victoria is the state with the highest rate of people seeking homelessness services and support. One in 57 people in Victoria received homelessness assistance, higher than the national rate (1 in 86).

The AIHW data highlights the gap between supply and demand for long term housing options, which we experience every day. In 2018-19, Unison’s homelessness services provided assistance to 3,557 unique households, and just over 70% of the people we assisted were homeless when they presented to our services.

Unison CEO Ed Holmes said, “Our homelessness services staff do an amazing job to try and keep up with the demand in Melbourne’s west, but, with the critical shortage of affordable housing, it is an ongoing challenge.”

“The growing housing crisis and critical shortage of social and affordable housing in Victoria is driving more people to the brink of homelessness. At Unison, we are strong advocates for more investment in social housing, because the single, most important factor in preventing and solving homelessness is increasing the supply of social housing.”

The AIHW is Australia's national agency for information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare. Statistics and data developed by the AIHW are used extensively to inform discussion and policy decisions on health, community services and housing assistance, leading to better health and wellbeing for all Australians. Unison is one of many community sector services who provide data to the AIHW. 

The AIHW Annual Report includes comprehensive data including trends, fact sheets and comparative data. You can read the full report here.