Australian Bureau of Statistics - Census 2011 Counting the Homeless
If you know anyone who is couch surfing or sleeping rough - read this article!
What is the Census?
The Census of Population and Housing aims to accurately count the number of people in Australia, their key characteristics, and the dwellings in which they live through a nationwide survey. Census night is Tuesday, 9 August, 2011. Every household in Australia receives a Census Form in which there is a series of questions that relate to housing and population demographics.
Are people experiencing homelessness counted?
Yes! There is a special Strategy for counting people who are experiencing homelessness. Jodi Mohr from the North West Homelessness Network and Alex Jarvis are coordinating the NW Homelessness count. Given the complexity of accurately counting people who are experiencing homelessness the ABS homelessness strategy allows an extra week of collection time, until Tuesday 16 August.
Why is it important to count people experiencing homelessness?
All levels of government use Census information as a key instrument in the policy development, strategic planning and resource allocation. Therefore, it is very important to present an accurate picture as possible of the extent of homelessness to those who make decisions about funding and resourcing.
What about privacy?
All information collected through the Census is strictly private and confidential. No one outside of the ABS (including other Government agencies) will ever see your Census responses. Individuals or households cannot be identified in Census results or data. Census data will never be shared with other agencies, including Centrelink, Police, Department of Human Services, Tax Department, Office of Housing, Real Estate Agents, and those pesky telemarketers!
How do I fill out the household survey?
If your current housing circumstances on the Census night reflect one of the categories within the cultural definition of homelessness, it is really important that you write "NONE" in the "Suburb/Locality" for the question "Where does the person usually live?"
How is homelessness defined in the Census Count?
The ABS uses the Chamberlain & MacKenzie Cultural Definition of Homelessness, which identifies three categories: primary, secondary and tertiary. See our Cultural Definition of Homelessness Fact Sheet (attached below) for details on what this means.
Cultural Definition of Homelessness
How the ABS Homelessness Census count is conducted:
- Special Area Supervisors will coordinate the recruitment of Special Collectors in their region, and will be responsible for developing and coordinating their local strategy.
- In the North West region, the Special Area Supervisors are Jodi Mohr and Alex Jarvis, who are working from Wombat Housing and Support Services.
- Special Collectors will have a dual role. Firstly, they will focus on informing both staff and clients about the upcoming Census count. Secondly, after Census night-Tuesday 9 August-they will actively assist clients to ensure they have been counted.
- The Department of Human Services has provided the ABS with a list of all the refuges, and transitional and crisis properties for each region. These will be used by the ABS to identify them in the post-analysis process as a property where people experiencing secondary homelessness are located. See below for more information about the Refuge strategy.
- The ABS has also obtained lists of all registered rooming houses from the Office of Housing, whose role it is to maintain a list of registered rooming houses.
- The ABS has asked Special Area Supervisors to provide any addresses of unregistered rooming houses so that these properties can also be identified as addresses where people experiencing homelessness are residing.
- Special Collectors will also assist to ensure anyone experiencing primary homelessness/rough sleeping on Census Night fills in a Short Form.