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This paper is in two parts. An introductory section discusses the housing market in Australia in order to emphasise the fact that homelessness is not simply an individual experience. It is also a structural phenomenon driven by economic imperatives beyond the control of those most affected. The bulk of the paper is devoted to a discussion of the published figures on the level of homelessness in Australia, gathered by the national Census and by the data collection agency for the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP), the nation`s main program for combating homelessness. Some problems with those figures as they are reported by the SAAP data collection agency are discussed, in particular, the under-estimation of the level of unmet demand for accommodation. The paper concludes with a comparison between the Census and the SAAP figures, which indicates that policies for alleviating homelessness are far from achieving their aims.