People in Improvised Dwellings, Tents and Sleepers Out

Chris Chamberlain, Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University, June 2012

This research project was funded by the Australian Government under the 2009-13 National Homelessness Research Agenda.

This report summarises information from the national project, Counting the Homeless 2006 by Chamberlain and MacKenzie. The national report was published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2008, and reports on each state and territory were published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2009. 

The purpose of this report is to provide background information for the evaluation of Street to Home programs being undertaken in Australian capital cities.

The main data source for the Census analysis was the ABS Census of Population and Housing 2006. However, this data was supplemented by information from the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) National Data Collection and the third National Census of Homeless School Students. Chamberlain and MacKenzie also carried out telephone interviews with about 500 service providers and public officials across the country. Local informants were selected purposively, in order to check the reliability of Census data in particular communities and to understand more about what was happening on the ground. In most places, three to four people were interviewed.

This report begins by explaining how the 2006 Census count was carried out. Then it estimates the number of people in improvised dwellings (sheds, garages and cabins) and the number of people sleeping rough (public places, derelict buildings, tents, cars, etc.). Finally, the appendices summarise statistical information on homeless people in 2006, by state and territory.

Below are links to the Full Report and an Evidence Note that provides a summary of the report findings.

Full Report [PDF - 264KB] [DOCX - 100KB]
Evidence Note [PDF - 54KB] [DOCX - 136KB]