Cost of homelessness

In a 2016 Australian study ... over a period of twelve months ... a person experiencing homelessness accessed an average of $48,217 of government services. 

Services such as police, prison, probation, parole, courts, emergency department, hospital-admitted patients, ambulance, mental health and homelessness services.

In comparison, when a person was a tenant of supportive housing their annual need for frontline services was reduced by $13,100. 

  • Criminal offending ⬇ 52%
  • Time in police custody ⬇ 40%
  • Demand for mental health services ⬇ 65%
  • Being a victim of crime ⬇ 54%
  • Use of crisis accommodation ⬇ 99%


Data referenced from “Cost Offsets of Supportive Housing: Evidence for Social Work” Cameron Parsell, Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland 2016

These dollars terms do not attempt to quantify the social costs and benefits to each tenant and their community. It could be strongly argued that the result of secure housing would equate to a continued decline in the use of frontline government services as tenants' health improves, employment and educational commitments are more easily maintained and stable social and family networks strengthen.   

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