Census counts for homelessness

1 August 2011 | NSW/94

Today's start of National Homeless Persons Week is a good time to reflect on the important role that the upcoming Census on Tuesday 9 August will play in providing an accurate snapshot of homelessness in Australia.

NSW Census Director Mark Harding says it is critical that every person experiencing every type of homelessness is counted in this year’s Census so that decision makers can improve and target services.

"Getting an accurate count of homelessness is a serious priority for this year's Census and that's why we've been working closely with homeless service providers for more than 18 months to make sure everyone is counted.

"Up-to-date Census information is critical to help inform government decision-makers and service providers about the scale of homelessness.

“During the last Census in 2006, the homeless population in Australia was 105,000, with 42 homeless people per every 10,000 here in NSW."

Mr Harding says that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has recruited 350 Special Census Collectors in NSW to help accurately count the number sleepers.
“Having people with an understanding of homelessness on the team is crucial to ensuring that we get an accurate count," Mr Harding says.

"Teams of trained Special Collectors will be visiting areas where rough sleepers are likely to be found and helping them complete a very short Census form."

The Census also counts people in temporary accommodation, such as hostels, refuges and boarding houses as well as couch surfers.

“If you are staying in temporary accommodation or you are couch surfing, it's really important that you write ‘None’ in the suburb/locality box on your Census form," Mr Harding adds.

More information is available online at www.abs.gov.au/census or by calling the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 338 776