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ACT homeless rate jumps

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The rate of homelessness in the ACT has jumped by 70 per cent in the past five years and is now the second highest in the country, the latest census data has revealed.

The rate of homelessness in the ACT has increased from 29.3 persons per 10,000 in 2006 to 50 persons per 10,000 in 2011, giving the ACT the second-highest rate of homelessness behind the Northern Territory, which has 730.7 homeless persons per 10,000 of the population, and putting the capital above the national average rate of 48.9.

The number of homeless people in the ACT jumped from 949 in 2006 to 1785 in 2011, climbing much quicker than the overall population growth. The number of people at risk of homelessness has also grown from 251 in 2006 to 484 people.

The majority of homeless in the capital were in supported accommodation for the homeless (62 per cent), with 18 per cent staying temporarily with other households, and 16 per cent living in “severely crowded” dwellings. Fifty-six per cent of the homeless in Canberra were male.

Almost 300 children under the age of 12 were classed as homeless in the ACT in 2011. Thirty per cent of the ACT’s homeless were aged 18 or under, with half of the homeless between the ages of 19 and 44 years.

Nationally, the rate of homelessness increased by 8 per cent from 2006 levels, with a total of 105,237 people, or 0.5 per cent of the Australian population, who were homeless on the August 9 census night in 2011.

Tasmania has the lowest rate of homelessness in the country according to the 2011 figures, with 31.9 people per 10,000 classed as homeless.

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