Just over 22 per cent of the population have a disability or long term health condition. Persons with a disability and their family members with care responsibilities are at risk of homelessness because of low incomes, limited engagement with the labour market and restricted capacity within the private rental sector (Beer and Faulkner 2008).
The relationship between mental health – including psychiatric disability – and homelessness is well established (AIHW 2007) and acknowledged within current policy frameworks (FAHCSIA 2008). Persons affected by other forms of disability, however, are also likely to be at greater risk of homelessness than the general population but their needs have not received the same degree of attention in public debate and policy development.
There has been significant reform of funding for disability services by the Federal Government. However, we contend that there is no specific attention within this reform agenda given to the needs of those with a disability who might ‘fall out’ of this system of support through homelessness. The experiences of persons with a disability in the housing market are frequently very different to those of the general population (Beer and Faulkner 2008) and further differentiated by type of disability.