Homelessness in Wyndham
The information in this profile is sourced from the 2006, 2011 and 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing unless otherwise indicated.
While homelessness itself is not a characteristic that is directly collected in the Census of Population and Housing, estimates of the homeless population may be derived from the Census using analytical techniques based on both the characteristics observed in the Census and assumptions about the way people may respond to Census questions.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) considers a person to be homeless if they do not have suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:
- is in a dwelling that is inadequate
- has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable
- does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations
The ABS derives homeless estimates from the Census using a collection of analytical techniques and a targeted data collection strategy on Census night which includes counting:
- Persons living in improvised dwellings, tents, or sleeping out
- Persons in supported accommodation for the homeless
- Persons staying temporarily with other households
- Persons living in boarding houses
- Persons in other temporary lodgings
- Persons living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings1
At the 2016 Census, there were 730 homeless people in Wyndham. This is an increase of 76.3% from 2011, when there were 414 homeless people in Wyndham. Only in the City of Melbourne did homelessness increased more quickly between 2011 and 2016. The increase of 316 homeless people is the fifth largest increase in Greater Melbourne, behind the Cities of Melbourne, Greater Dandenong, Casey and Brimbank.
In 2016 more than half of Wyndham’s homeless population (60%) lived in Werribee (199), Tarneit (132) and Hoppers Crossing (109). As the figure below shows, the homeless population in Hoppers Crossing has decreased from 159 to 109 between 2011 and 2016. In Point Cook the homeless population decreased from 33 to 28. In all other Wyndham suburbs, the number of homeless people has increased:
- Werribee's homeless population grew from 109 to 199.
- Tarneit's homeless population grew from 37 to 132 people.
- The homeless population in Truganina grew from 33 to 97 people.
- The Wyndham Vale homeless population grew from 36 to 92 people.
- In Werribee South the homeless population grew from 11 to 51 people.
- The Laverton North homeless population grew from 3 to 22 people.
The remainder of this profile discusses the demographics of those who are homeless in Wyndham. The ABS has only made that information available at the SA3-level, which is a slightly larger area than the Wyndham municipality as it includes Laverton as well. The total number of people experiencing homelessness is therefore larger than given above.
According to the 2016 Census, there were approximately 809 homeless people in Wyndham in 2016. As shown in the table below, Wyndham ranks in the top ten Victorian SA3 areas for the most number of homeless people. As shown in the graph below, this equates to 0.37% of the Wyndham population.
Wyndham has a lower proportion of homeless people than across Melbourne West, Greater Melbourne, Victoria and Australia. Melbourne West includes the areas of Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Wyndham, most of Melton, most of Brimbank, and parts of Bacchus Marsh.
Top 10 Victorian SA3 for number of homeless people, 2016
Homelessness rates for select regions, 2016
In 2016 a large majority of homeless residents in Wyndham were living in severely crowded dwellings , which the ABS defines as living in a dwelling that needs four or more additional bedrooms. More than two thirds of Wyndham homeless residents are in this situation (69.7 per cent).
A further quarter of Wyndham homeless residents are living in supported accommodation for the homeless (13.5 per cent) or are temporarily staying with a household (12.9 per cent). Few homeless Wyndham residents are rough sleepers (2.6 per cent), and fewer still are living in boarding houses (1.4 per cent).
The type of accommodation that Wyndham homeless people live in differs greatly from homeless people in Greater Melbourne. In Greater Melbourne it is less common for homeless people to be living in severely crowded dwellings than in Wyndham (39.1 per cent compared with Wyndham’s 69.7 per cent).
In addition, homeless residents in Greater Melbourne are much more likely to be living in boarding houses, in supported accommodation for the homeless or sleeping rough.
Homeless people's accommodation in Wyndham and Greater Melbourne, 2016
In 2016, the proportion of homeless people aged 24 years and under is considerably higher in Wyndham (52.5 per cent) than in Greater Melbourne homeless (39.3 per cent). For comparison, 36.8 per cent of Wyndham residents are aged 24 or under.
Unsurprisingly, the median age of homeless residents in Wyndham is 23.2, which is lower than homeless residents in Greater Melbourne (24), and far below the median age among all Wyndham residents, which is 32.
Homelessness age profile in Wyndham and Greater Melbourne, 2016
There are slightly more homeless men in Wyndham than homeless women. Men make up 57 per cent of the homeless population in Wyndham.
The age profile of homeless men and women in Wyndham differs as well. Almost half of homeless men (48 per cent) are aged between 18 and 34, compared with 36.4 per cent of women.
Homeless women in Wyndham are also more likely to be between the ages of 0 and 17. More than a third of homeless women are in that age group (35.5 per cent) compared with just over a quarter of homeless men (27 per cent). As a result, the median age of homeless women (22.4) is lower than that of homeless men (23.8).
Almost four in ten homeless people in Wyndham have completed secondary education but have no further qualifications (38.5 per cent). One in ten (10.4 per cent) did not finish secondary education. More than one in ten (11.4 per cent) have a Bachelor degree or higher, and 15.6 per cent have a Certificate III/IV or Diploma. Almost one in four people did not state their highest qualification achieved or had another qualification.
Compared with homless people in Greater Melbourne, a greater proportion of homeless people in Wyndham have completed secondary education, though a greater proportion has also not finished secondary education. At the same time, homeless people in Greater Melbourne are slightly more likely to have a Bachelor degree or higher than homeless residents in Wyndham.
Compared with all Wyndham residents, the most significant differences lies in the extent to which Wyndham residents have post-secondary education: the average Wyndham resident is more than twice as likely to have finished a Bachelor degree or higher (24.4 per cent) than homeless Wyndham residents (11.4 per cent), and 1.5 times as likely to have a Certificate III/IV or Diploma (24.6 per cent compared with 15.6 per cent).
Highest level of education completed, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne homeless residents and all Wyndham residents, 2016
Engagement in employment and education looks at participation in the labour market and/or full or part-time education. A full time employed person or full-time student would be "Fully engaged", while part-time students may be fully engaged if they are also employed, or partly engaged if they are not working.
Less than half of Wyndham homeless residents are in full-time employment and/or study (43.9 per cent). Almost three in ten Wyndham homeless residents do not have any work and do not study at all (28.9 per cent).
Engagement among Wyndham homeless residents is higher than among Greater Melbourne homeless residents, and so is partial engagement. Homeless residents in Wyndham are also less likely to be fully disengaged that the average homeless resident in Greater Melbourne.
Wyndham homeless residents have lower engagement outcomes than the average Wyndham resident. They are less likely to be fully or partially engaged, and more likely to be disengaged. Over half of homeless residents are fully or partially engaged (56.5 per cent) compared with almost two thirds of all Wyndham residents (65.7%).
Engagement in work, education and training, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne homeless people and all Wyndham residents, 2016
Closely tied to disengagement and the level of educational attainment, employment status among homeless residents mirrors the patterns seen above.
Four in ten Wyndham homeless residents are employed (40.3 per cent), almost one in ten are unemployed (9.6 per cent) and almost four in ten are not in the labour force (37.5 per cent).
The employment status of Wyndham’s homeless residents is better than that of all Greater Melbourne homeless residents. More are employed (40.3 per cent compared with 30 per cent) and fewer are unemployed (9.6 per cent compared with 10.1 per cent).
Compared with all Wyndham residents, homeless residents are 1.5 times less likely to have employment, and are almost twice as likely to be unemployed. They are also more likely to not be in the labour force.
Employment status, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne homeless people and all Wyndham residents, 2016
Half of Wyndham homeless residents make $340 or less per week, or $17,688 per year. This is less than homeless residents in Greater Melbourne ($352 per week, or $18,307 per year) and far below the $679 per week ($35,302 per year) among all Wyndham residents.
Given educational, engagement and labour force outcomes, it is no surprise that the pattern of homeless residents’ weekly income indicates that more than half of Wyndham homeless residents have a weekly income of $500 or less (60 per cent). A weekly income of $500 is based on the lower 40 per cent of all Wyndham residents and signifies the low income bracket.
One in five Wyndham homeless residents have no income or a negative income. And a further two in five have a weekly income between $1 and $499. Very few have an income of $1,250 or more per week.
Personal weekly income, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne homeless people and all Wyndham residents, 2016
While Wyndham residents who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people form less than one per cent of the Wyndham total population, they represent 2.4 per cent of the homeless population.
Indigenous Australians and homelessness, Wyndham and Greater Melbourne homeless people and all Wyndham residents, 2016
More than half of all Wyndham residents were born in Australia (52.6 per cent). Homeless residents, however, are less likely to have been born in Australia. Just over a third of homeless residents was born in Australia (34.9 per cent). Naturally, homeless residents are more likely to have been born overseas than in Australia.
Comparing the makeup of the Wyndham general population with the makeup of the homeless population, those born in India still form the second largest group (behind those born in Australia) with 11.9 per cent of homeless residents. This is close to the proportion of the Wyndham population that was born in India (10.5 per cent).
Most of the other countries of birth that form the top ten among Wyndham's homeless residents see a bigger disparity, suggesting that these countries are particularly overrepresented in the homeless population. While 3.6 per cent of the Wyndham population was born in New Zealand, 11.2 per cent of the homeless population was born in New Zealand. Similarly, Myanmar and Thailand, home to the Karen community, are the countries of birth of 10.2 per cent of the homeless population, but only 1.7 per cent of the total Wyndham population. Homeless residents born in Ethiopia, Malaysia, South Sudan and Samoa are also overrepresented compared with their proportions in the total Wyndham population.
Wyndham's homeless population appears to be largely made up of refugees (e.g. the Karen population and people from South Sudan) or belonging to groups of migrants that are relatively new to Australia (e.g. people from India, Malaysia, Pakistan).
Country of birth, Wyndham homeless people and all Wyndham residents, 2016
The pattern of residents' first languages resemble the country of birth pattern above. The languages identified below are spoken in the countries of birth discussed earlier. Karen is the language spoken by the Karen community, who come from Thailand and Myanmar, Punjabi, Urdu, Telugu and Hindi are languages spoken on the Indian subcontinent, Arabic and Somali are spoken in the horn of Africa, and the Dinka is spoken in South Sudan.
First language, Wyndham homeless people and all Wyndham residents, 2016
Because Wyndham's homeless residents are more likely to have been born outside Australia, their English proficiency is lower than the English proficiency of the general Wyndham population, and lower than the Greater Melbourne homeless population as well.
Just under two thirds of Wyndham's homeless residents speak English well or very well (65.2 per cent), and more than one in five does not speak English well or at all (21.6 per cent). Of all Wyndham residents, three in every four residents speak English well or very well (75.4 per cent), and 12.4 per cent speak little to no English. In other words, the average Wyndham homeless resident is about twice as likely to have little to no English proficiency than the average Wyndham resident.