Vulnerable Canberrans are falling back into homelessness at the second-highest rate in the country, new figures show, as demand for help spikes on the back of the bushfires and coronavirus pandemic.
The Productivity Commission's latest report on government performance also revealed the housing needs of a third of people relying on homelessness support are not being met.
That figure drops to fewer than 20 per cent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients - well below the national average.
The first of the commission's yearly reports, published on Wednesday, showed 6.6 per cent of ACT clients experienced "repeat periods" of homelessness in 2019-20.
That rate, up from 5.8 per cent in the previous financial year, was the second highest in the nation behind Tasmania (7.6 per cent), and above the national average of 5.3 per cent.
Repeat homelessness occurs when a client exits and then falls back into homelessness over the course of 12 months.
More than 4140 people received specialist support in the past financial year, a nine per cent increase which coincided with the Black Summer fires and COVID-19 pandemic.
The commission's report revealed a growing proportion of clients are not receiving the services they need.
More than a third of clients in Canberra went without required accommodation services in 2019-20, marginally above a national rate which has been steadily increasing over the past four years.
The proportion of clients who weren't provided with the other support services they needed rose to 8.8 per cent, up from less than 1 per cent in 2015-16.
The statistics are even more stark for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.
Just 18.5 per cent of clients had their housing needs met, the second lowest rate in the nation. The proportion was even lower for other service needs.
The results in both metrics are worse than four years ago.
The commission's report did include a number of positive figures for the ACT.
More than 32 per cent of clients were either employed or enrolled in formal education or training after receiving support, the highest rate in the nation.
The ACT was, however, starting from a high base, with 30 per cent of clients already working or studying before they started receiving support.
Government funding to homelessness services increased four per cent to $25.7 million in the past year, which included a raft of emergency measures to support clients amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Productivity Commission's also published data on public housing, comparing the performance of each state and territory on a range of metrics.
The Barr government considers itself a nation leader in the field, holding up its 10-year, $1 billion public housing investment as proof of its commitment to supporting low-income earners.
But the commission's report delivered mixed news.
The ACT, along with Tasmania, leads the nation in allocating public housing to those in greatest need (98.6 per cent).
But it continues to have a high proportion of overcrowded units compared to the rest of country, with a rate of 4.8 per cent putting it equal second behind the NT.