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Eastern States workers moving to WA with dreams of a mining job are adding to a rise in the State's homeless population.

As the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed a near 16 per cent increase in homeless people in WA, support organisations reported more people needing help after moving west for a job.

Concerns about slower global growth have prompted WA miners to scale back expansion plans and slash jobs.

St Bartholomew's House chief executive Andrew Hogan said people had lost their resources jobs and could not afford to stay in WA or return home.

He said the stereotype of the homeless as unemployed hobos sleeping rough was out of date. At any one time, about 20 per cent of St Bart's residents had tertiary qualifications.

Census figures showed the number of homeless in Australia rose 17.3 per cent from 2006 to 2011. In WA the rise was 15.8 per cent, from 8277 to 9592.

However, as a proportion of the population, the rise in homelessness was more modest: 8 per cent Australia-wide and 1.1 per cent in WA, from 42.3 people per 10,000 in 2006 to 42.8 per 10,000 in 2011.

Much of the increase came from a jump in the number of people living in overcrowded houses. The ABS definition also covers accommodation not deemed suitable for a variety of reasons.

The figures also showed a big rise in the number of homeless people born overseas.

Homeless support groups used the release of the figures yesterday to call for a more co-ordinated approach to the problem, including extending the national partnership agreement on homelessness past its scheduled expiry in 2013.

Mission Australia's WA director Melissa Perry said the figures were disappointing but not a surprise with demand for its services as high as ever.