Interviews with more than 8000 people have been used to inform a new national snapshot of homelessness in Australian cities.
The World Today speaks to the study lead from the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia.
Three minutes and ten seconds into the interview on homelessness in Australian capital cities the following is discussed:
PAUL FLATAU: So around about six per cent of the respondents actually said: “Yes, I have served in the Australian Defence Force.”
We actually don’t know what the number of veterans – this is post-World War Two and post-Korean war veterans, because very, very few of those that we interviewed were of an age – in fact, none were of an age of World War Two.
But we actually don’t know the total count of veterans in Australia in the worlds of interest to us. But six per cent seems very high.
But there’s another factor that was very important: and that was that the prevalence of serious brain injury was incredibly high amongst the veterans, much higher than the rest of the homeless group.
So around about half said “yes” to the question around serious brain injury, and that is a very alarming statistic. And we need to address that question of brain injury amongst veterans and obviously we need to address veterans’ homelessness.
It’s a question that was addressed in the US really strongly over a 10 year period. One of the major policies around homelessness in the US was about veterans’ homelessness.
And it’s been a very, very quiet issue in Australia.
THOMAS ORITI: Professor Paul Flatau, the director of the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia.
Comment from Dr Rod Bain OAM
MBBS FRCA FANZCA
ESO Medical Advisor
So, at long last, we have a solid statistic on which to base the financial assistance we need to plan for these individuals’ futures as they can can no longer be allowed to manage on their own devices in our Australian society..A ball park figure of the 8000 interviews is that there are 240 or so Aust. Defence Community members in the streets as a result of moderate head injuries most of which would have received these injuries during their ADF time.
I intend to pursue this long and hard within our ESO community as well, but here we can be united, I believe, to have these individuals moved to better places as quickly as we can.