Salvos helping homeless in Australia

Homelessness Week (1-7 August 2021) is an opportunity to highlight the importance of Census data to inform services for homeless people in Australia. The 2021 Census will be held on Tuesday 10 August.

The Census provides the only national estimate of the prevalence of homelessness, making it a vital resource for organisations supporting individuals and families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

Georgia Chapman, Director 2021 Census Inclusive Strategies, says “Census data is used to plan and fund services such as emergency shelters, domestic violence programs and transitional housing. Knowing how many people are experiencing homelessness means organisations can plan and target services to meet the needs of the community.

“With the impact that COVID-19 has had on so many of us, the 2021 Census will provide valuable insights into how the pandemic has changed life in Australia.

“In areas where restrictions are in place, we’re working with the state government and local service providers to make sure people experiencing homelessness are counted safely on Census night.”

Census data is used extensively by organisations, such as the Salvation Army, to support people experiencing homelessness.

Dr Jed Donoghue, General Manager of Homelessness at the Salvation Army said, “It is important for the Salvation Army to have accurate data so we can deliver the right services. We have been working closely with the ABS to ensure our clients and communities are engaged and supported to participate in the 2021 Census.”

Also read: Census 2016 reveals Indian born, the fastest migrant group in Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics works closely with state and local governments and the homelessness sector to ensure people experiencing different forms of homelessness can participate in the Census safely and respectfully. This includes local support for people sleeping rough, staying in refuges and temporary accommodation.

COVID-19 and the homelessness count

The health and safety of Census staff and members of the community throughout Census operations is the ABS’ highest priority. The ABS is constantly monitoring health and government advice regarding the changing COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that safety measures are current and best practice.

The ABS understands that COVID-19 has changed the landscape of where and how people are sleeping rough and is working alongside state and local governments and the homelessness sector, to ensure that everyone is counted in the Census safely.

For more information about how the Census supports homeless people in Australia, visit

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