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GEO 14 – The Homeless


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    Subject Area


    Geography


    Suggested Level


    Years 9–11


    Overview



    This classroom activity explores the issue of the homeless through statistical data collected for the 2006 Census of Population and Housing and other ABS source material. Data is provided to develop a picture of homelessness across the nation with additional statistics for the homeless in the inner part of Australia’s capital cities. The activity may be developed further with a film review and research.
    The activity uses ABS catalogue no. 2050.0 - Australian Census Analytic Program: Counting the Homeless, 2006. The publication sought to establish the extent of homelessness in Australia at the time of the 2006 Census, using Census data complemented by data from other surveys of youth homelessness and users of support services. It provides information on the change in the size and composition of the homeless population over time, and draws on earlier research using 1996 and 2001 Census data.

    The data provided in the activity may be integrated with city programs which are being undertaken by some students, programs in civics and citizenship or in human development.



    Requirements



  • Spreadsheet software program (optional)


    Instructions

    Background

    Counting the Homeless

    The 2001 and 2006 Census collections enumerated people are defined as primary and secondary homeless. Primary homeless includes all people without conventional accommodation, such as people living on the streets, in deserted buildings, improvised dwellings, in parks, etc. Secondary homeless includes people who move frequently from one form of temporary shelter to another. Tertiary homeless are people who live in boarding houses on a medium to long-term basis (13 weeks or longer).
    Further detail on the Homeless in Australia may be obtained from Australian Census Analytic Program: Counting the Homeless, 2006 (cat. no. 2050.0)

    Geographic Units

    In the Census, the smallest geographic area is a Collection District. It consists of approximately 225 households and generally represents the work of one Census collector. Collection Districts are aggregated to form larger geographic areas as part of the Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC), (cat. no. 1216.0). A Statistical Local Area (SLA) is one of the larger geographic units and for this activity is the most appropriate way of representing the inner city area of Australia’s capital cities.

    6.1 What is a homeless person?

    1. Use a ‘think, pair and share’ approach and ask students to discuss how they would describe a homeless person.

    2. Use the information provided by each group to discuss the idea of a stereotype for homeless people.

    3. Create a definition of a homeless person from the class responses. Compare this definition with the definitions provided in the glossary.

    6.2 What are the characteristics of a homeless person?

    1. Using Tables 1 – 6, divide the class into 6 groups and allocate one table per group.

    2. Ask the students to study the data provided in their table and to identify two key points that they will share with the rest of the class.

    TABLE 1: PERSONS IN DIFFERENT SECTORS OF THE HOMELESS POPULATION ON CENSUS NIGHT
    2006
    Boarding houses21 596
    SAAP (emergency shelter or transitional accommodation)19 849
    Friends and relatives46 856
    Improvised dwellings, sleepers out16 375
    Total104 676
    Source: Counting the Homeless, 2006, Pub. No 2050.0

    TABLE 2: types of homeless HOUSEHOLDS
    2006

    %

    Single person76
    Couple only14
    Family with children10
    Source: Counting the Homeless, 2006, Pub. No. 2050.0

    TABLE3: INDIGENOUS AND NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN DIFFERENT SEGMENTS OF THE HOMELESS POPULATION
    Boarding houseFriends or relativesSAAP

    (emergency shelter or transitional accommodation)

    Improvised dwellingsAll
    %%%%%
    Non-Indigenous94.296.280.384.290.9
    Indigenous5.83.819.715.89.1
    100100100100100
    Source: Counting the Homeless, 2006, Pub. No. 2050.0

    TABLE 4: AGE BREAKDOWN OF HOMELESS POPULATION, 2006
    %
    Under1212
    12 – 1821
    19 – 2410
    25 -3415
    35 – 4413
    45 – 5412
    55 – 6410
    65 or older7
    Source: Counting the Homeless, 2006, Pub. No. 2050.0

    TABLE 5: SEX AND AGE OF HOMELESS
    Under 12 years12 – 18 years19 – 24 years25 – 34 years35 – 44 years45 – 54 years55 – 64 years65 years and overAll
    %%%%%%%%%
    Males524653576364616456
    Females485447433736393644
    Total100100100100100100100100100
    Source: Counting the Homeless, 2006, Pub. No. 2050.0

    TABLE 6: SEX BY DIFFERENT SEGMENTS OF THE POPULATION
    Boarding houseFriends or relativesSAAP (emergency shelter or transitional accommodation)Improvised dwellingsAll
    %%%%
    Male7252476056
    Female2848534044
    100100100100100
    Source: Counting the Homeless, 2006, Pub. No. 2050.0



    6.3 Which states have more homeless people?

    The publication Counting the Homeless, 2006 (cat. no. 2050.0) identified 104 676 as being Primary Homeless in Australian States and Territories (Table 7).

    You have been allocated $100 million to assist with the development of services to the Primary Homeless. Your task is to decide how this money should be allocated to each state and territory in Australia.

    1. Using Table 7, ask students to calculate the percentage of homeless people in each State and Territory and complete column (b). New South Wales has been completed already.

    2. Study the values in Table 7 below and discuss how the money should be allocated to each state and territory.

    TABLE 7: COMPARISON OF PRIMARY HOMELESS PEOPLE BY STATE AND TERRITORY.
    Number of Homeless People
    (a)
    % of Total Homeless People for each state or territory
    (b)
    Rate of Homelessness per 10,000 population

    (c)
    NSW27 37426.242
    Victoria20 51142
    Queensland26 78269
    WA13 39168
    SA7 96253
    Tasmania2 50753
    NT4 785248
    ACT1 36442
    Total104 676100
    Source: Counting the Homeless, 2006, Pub.no. 2050.0

    6.4 How do our capital cities compare?

    The number of homeless provided in Table 8 is a count of persons defined as ‘Primary Homeless’ only. These are people without conventional accommodation (living on the streets, in deserted buildings, improvised dwellings, in parks, etc.). The data provided does not include persons in boarding houses or who are temporarily homeless.

    The data is provided for the Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) at the heart of Australia’s capital cities. If desired, the quickest way to view the boundaries of these areas is to select Census QuickStats for the SLA’s identified in the Table 8 below.
    TABLE 8: COMPARISON OF PRIMARY HOMELESS IN CENTRE OF aUSTRALIA’S CAPITAL CITIES, CENSUS NIGHT, 8TH AUGUST 2006.
    No. Primary Homeless

    (a)

    SLA Area km2No. Primary Homeless

    per km2

    (b)

    No. Primary Homeless per 10 000 usual residents

    (c)

    No. Primary Homeless per 10 000 enumerated persons

    (d)

    105057201 Sydney (C) - Inner844.220.003823
    205054601 Melbourne (C) - Inner551.928.954725
    305011143 Brisbane City - Inner650.792.86239104
    405150070 Adelaide (C)13515.68.658159
    505057081 Perth (C) - Inner1251.869.441158256
    605052811 Hobart (C) - Inner190.631.67417181
    705051018 Darwin City - Inner182.66.92072029
    805051449 Canberra City351.523.33484192
    Total536
    Source: 2006 Census of Population and Housing, Customised Data Report for Statistical Local Areas

    Compare the statistics provided on primary homelessness in Australia’s capital cities (Table 8).

    Divide the class into groups of 4 students. Ask each member of the group to create a graph using one of the columns (a-d) in Table 8

    (a) Number of primary homeless,

    (b) Primary homeless per square kilometre

    (c) Primary homeless per 10 000 persons usually resident in the inner city on Census night

    (d) Primary homeless per 10 000 persons enumerated on census night in the inner city

    1. On completion, ask students to compare their graphs, and explain the variations observed.

    2. Ask each group to decide which measure is best for comparing Primary Homeless in Australia’s capital cities. (The graphs are provided in the answer section of this activity)

    3. Identify the organisations which may be interested in the number of homeless in the inner city?

    6.5 What are conditions like for homeless people?

    The activity may be developed to incorporate a film review on the topic of ‘The Homeless’ using a variation of Dr. Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats®. Review the video before commencing this activity. Choose a video or DVD appropriate for the year level e.g. The Oasis (www.theoasismovie.com.au)

    The hats are provided as a way of focussing attention during the showing of the film and discussing the material within it.

    1. Explain the purpose of the hats:

    · White hat - Data, information or statistics

    · Red hat – Feelings, hunches or gut reactions

    · Black hat - Judgement, devils advocate or why something may not work

    · Yellow hat – Optimism, positive thinking

    · Green hat – Creativity, solutions, possibilities, new ideas

    · Blue hat – Used to manage the thinking process, thinking about thinking

    2. Allocate a coloured hat to each member of the class or allow students to choose their preferred hat colour.

    3. As students view the film they are to make their own notes focussed solely on information related to the colour of their hat.

    4. At the end of the film, ask students to share their observations based upon the colours of their hats. These observations may be collated by the class or included in a written response appropriate to the video.

    6.6 What can be done?

    1. Identify services which assist homeless persons in your State or Territory.

    2. Ask the students to research organisations dedicated to assisting the homeless.

    3. Summarise the results of the research in a table showing the agency, its focus and the actions it has in place to assist homeless people.



    Answers

    TABLE 7: COMPARISON OF PRIMARY HOMELESS PEOPLE BY STATE AND TERRITORY.
    Number of Homeless People % of Total Homeless People for each state or territory.Rate of Homelessness per 10,000 population
    NSW27 37426.242
    Victoria20 51119.942
    Queensland26 78225.669
    WA13 39112.868
    SA7 9627.653
    Tasmania2 5072.453
    NT4 7854.6248
    ACT1 3641.342
    Total104 676100%
    Source: : Counting the Homeless, 2006, Catalogue no. 2050.0


    Graphs to Compare the Homeless in the centre (SLAs) of Australian Capital Cities.




    Source: 2006 Census of Population and Housing, Customised Data Report for Statistical Local Areas.



    Glossary

    Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP)
    Secondary homelessness also includes people residing temporarily with other households because they have no accommodation of their own and people staying in boarding houses on a short-term basis, operationally defined as 12 weeks or less.

    Primary homelessness
    Includes all people without conventional accommodation, such as people living on the streets, sleeping in parks, squatting in derelict buildings, or using cars or railway carriages for temporary shelter.

    Secondary homelessness:
    Includes people who move frequently from one form of temporary shelter to another. On census night, it includes all people staying in emergency or transitional accommodation provided under the Supported Accommodation Assistant Program.

    Statistical Local Area (SLA)
    The Statistical Local area is part of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification(ASGC). SLAs are Local Government Areas or parts thereof.

    Tertiary homelessness
    Refers to people who live in boarding houses on a medium to long-term basis, operationally defined as 13 weeks or longer. They are homeless because their accommodation situation is below the minimum community standard of a small self-contained flat.



    References


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