They’ve been reaching out to the homeless for 130 years, but for the first time the Salvation Army is releasing data on the people they help.
The Salvation Army on Monday released its first National Homeless Report, revealing how many people are accessing its help and their circumstances.
The largest provider of homeless services in Australia, the Salvos provide around 25 per cent of the support available for people living on the streets.
Dr Bruce Redman says it’s hoped the data can reveal the extent of the homeless crisis in Australia and help plan a response.
“It’s important to pinpoint the determining factors behind homelessness,” he told AAP.
“From that we can then tailor our response in collaboration with the governments.”
Dr Redman, who has been working with homeless people for more than 35 years, says the face of homelessness is changing.
While many Australians still figure the typical homeless person is an elderly man, perhaps with mental health or alcohol issues, the Salvos are actually seeing many types of people.
Dr Redman is particularly concerned about the number of young children arriving at Salvos centres with their mothers.
“They aren’t able to settle into school or get any sort of stability in their lives and that’s a real concern,” he said.
The homeless reports will be released annually.
The inaugural report shows the Salvos helped 22,594 people in the six months from July 1 2012 to December 31 2012.