If you would like to have a document added, please email it to the Western Homelessness Networker:

Mental health, concurrent disorders, and health care utilization in homeless women, 2012
7th November 2012
  by Strehlau, V., Torchalla, I., Kathy, L., Schuetz, C., & Krausz, M.

This study assessed lifetime and current prevalence rates of mental disorders and concurrent mental and substance use disorders in a sample of homeless women. Current suicide risk and recent health service utilization were also examined in order to understand the complex mental health issues of this population and to inform the development of new treatment strategies that better meet their specific needs.

Conclusion. Prevalence rates of mental disorders among homeless participants were substantially higher than among women from the general Canadian population. The percentage of participants with moderate or high suicide risk and concurrent disorders indicates a high severity of mental health symptomatology. Treatment and housing programs need to be accompanied by multidisciplinary, specialized interventions that account for high rates of complex mental health conditions.

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Good and innovative practice in service delivery to vulnerable and disadvantaged families & children
5th November 2012
  by Elly Robinson, Debbie Scott, Veronica Meredith, Lalitha Nair & Daryl Higgins

This paper is an overview of an analysis of the Vulnerable and Disadvantaged Client Access Strategies (Access Strategies), a requirement of service providers funded by the Family Support Program (FSP). Organisations were asked to document and implement the steps they would take to improve service accessibility and responsiveness for vulnerable and disadvantaged families, including Indigenous families.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) was commissioned by Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) to undertake a desktop analysis of available Access Strategy documents, in order to collate information on existing/current good or innovative practice utilised by organisations to support vulnerable and disadvantaged families.

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Australian Indigenous House Crowding - Final Report
5th November 2012
  by Paul Memmott, Christina Birdsall-Jones and Kelly Greenop for the AHURI - Queensland Research Centre

This AHURI project aimed to develop a model of Australian Aboriginal house crowding, based on social science theories, and then refined through empirical studies conducted in regional urban and state capital metropolitan areas, generating useful findings for housing policy.

The case studies were conducted in Queensland and Western Australia in order to gather comparative data with which to analyse crowding in Indigenous households. The model incorporates the lived experiences of Indigenous people including the factors that cause, perpetuate and prevent crowding, and relates these to crowding theory and policy implications.

Download here (7961kb)
Lifecourse institutional costs of homelessness for vulnerable groups, 2012
1st November 2012
  by Eileen Baldry, Leanne Dowse, Ruth McCausland and Melissa Clarence, University of New South Wales

There is a lack of empirical research in Australia examining the lifecourse institutional costs associated with vulnerable people who are homeless. The study presented here has developed pathway costings using the Mental Health and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Justice System (MHDCD) Dataset that contains data on lifelong interventions and interactions with all criminal justice and some human services agencies that are available for a cohort of 2,731 people who have been in prison in NSW and whose MHDCD diagnoses are known.

This study’s purpose is to contribute to understanding the real costs associated with this group’s homelessness and criminal justice involvement and alternative policy and program responses. Merging data across criminal justice sub-systems and with relevant human services is a useful way to provide a broad, dynamic understanding of the trans-criminal justice and human service involvement of persons with complex needs.

This study was supported by the Australian Government through the National Homelessness Research Agenda of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Link to document:

Having and Keeping a Home: steps to preventing homelessness among young people, 2012
1st November 2012
  by Equal Opportunities Committee - The Scottish Parliament

In its 4th (Session 4) report to the Scottish Parliament on 7 October 2012, the Equal Opportunities Committee identified family breakdown as the principal cause of youth homelessness.

Heriot-Watt University’s Suzanne Fitzpatrick described ‘very clear triggers’ for youth homelessness, identified by research. She explained that most such triggers emerged between the ages of 14 and 17 and included school-related issues like truancy and exclusion, parents with alcohol or drug problems and homelessness as a child.

She also referred to a ‘clear evidential link between someone’s displaying a pattern of running away and their becoming homeless as an adult’.

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Policies and programs to end homelessness in Australia: Learning from international practice, 2012
1st November 2012
  by Parsell C, Jones A, Head B.

Many welfare states throughout the industrialised world have recently implemented policies to achieve targeted reductions in homelessness. These policy and welfare initiatives differ across national contexts. They are similar, however, in moving away from social programmes that have essentially ‘managed homelessness’ towards interventions that seek to permanently end homelessness.

Australia has recently adopted similar homelessness policy objectives. This article examines the manner in which Australian homelessness policy has been converging with international policy directions. More specifically, the article scrutinises Australian social programmes adopted from the UK and USA as a means to achieve strategic goals of reducing homelessness. It argues that although Australian homelessness policy objectives are converging with international policy, Australian programmes modelled on international successes do not have some of the elements shown elsewhere to be crucial for achieving sustainable reductions in homelessness.

This may become central to explaining programme outcomes in future years.

Link to document:

MGPN's Melbourne Health and Homelessness Research Report
29th October 2012
  by by Rinehart, N. & Borninkhof, J.

The Melbourne General Practice Network’s research project “Exploring Primary Health Care Needs, Welfare Requirements and Service Use of People Experiencing Homelessness within Melbourne’s CBD and Inner Suburbs” has just been released.

Aware of these difficulties in the community, Melbourne General Practice Network, now part of Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local, conducted a research project concerning health and homelessness in Melbourne over 2010-2011. The project was supported by the Australian Government’s National Homelessness Research Agenda 2009-2013. The research, using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, surveyed GPs, Pharmacists, services that support those affected by homelessness and those experiencing homelessness to explore their beliefs, experiences and practices.

The findings draw a current picture of health and welfare needs, in conjunction with the access and provision of health and welfare care in Melbourne and the inner suburbs. In addition, it investigated the recommendations of all participant groups to increase and improve access to, and management of, health care for those affected by homelessness.

Link to document:

Social justice report 2012
26th October 2012
  by Australian Human Rights Commission

This report examines the enjoyment and exercise of human rights by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and includes recommendations to help ensure their exercise and enjoyment of human rights.

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Healthy built environments: A review of the literature
26th October 2012
  by Jalaludin, B., Thompson, S., & Kent, J. City Futures Research Centre

The Healthy Built Environments Program has completed a major scholarly literature review examining the role of the built environment in supporting human health as part of everyday living. The principal aim of the Review is to establish an evidence base that supports the development, prioritisation and implementation of healthy built environment policies and practices. The Review identifies current gaps in the evidence to inform future research directions. It includes an annotated bibliography of key research articles and a glossary of terms to assist practitioners, policy makers and researchers working in this interdisciplinary realm.

Link to document:

Victoria's Action Plan to Address Violence against Women and Children
18th October 2012
  by Victorian Government

The plan reflects the Victorian Government’s commitment to preventing violence happening, holding perpetrators to account for their actions and providing support to women and children who experience violence.

The Action Plan engages a range of Government areas and will also be driven through partnerships with community sector organisations. The Government is investing $90 million in 2012-2013 which will fund a range of prevention, early intervention and response measures.

Link to document:,-programs-and-projects/plans-and-strategies/women/action-plan-to-address-violence-against-women-and-children

Homelessness kills: An analysis of the mortality of homeless people in early 21st century England
17th October 2012
  by Bethan Thomas

The previous Crisis research, together with studies on homeless mortality undertaken in North America and Northern Europe, found that homeless people suffer high mortality rates and premature mortality.

This study is the first that investigates the mortality of homeless people for all causes of death at the national level in England. It looked at national death records and matched the postcode given in each of them to the known addresses of homeless projects to ascertain the number of deaths that were likely, with varying degrees of certainty, to be attributed to homeless people. The ages and causes of death were analysed and standardised mortality ratios then constructed to draw comparisons between the circumstances faced by homeless people and those of the general population.

Link to document:

We’re not asking, we’re telling
17th October 2012
  by Paradis, E., Bardy, S., Cummings Diaz, P., Athumani, F., & Pereira, I.

 An inventory of practices promoting the dignity, autonomy, and self-determination of women and families facing homelessness, Homeless Hub report series, No.8, 2011

This study from Canada, builds upon the findings of several recent participatory projects in which women facing homelessness have taken the lead and voiced their knowledge about the causes and consequences of, and the solutions to, homelessness.

This report presents inspiring models, inclusive service practices, and women’s own strategies and resources for surviving homelessness.

Link to document:

Research Release: A study of crisis intervention and planned family support with vulnerable families
17th October 2012
  by Healy, K.

This research project, funded by the Australian Government under the 2009-13 National Homelessness Research Agenda, compared two models of service delivery for vulnerable families – crisis intervention and outreach planned family support.

Crisis intervention models are widely used in homelessness services to intervene in service user lives at a point of housing crisis and to develop a short-term, goal orientated response to housing and other needs. By contrast, the outreach planned family support approach is a service model that enables the support worker to work simultaneously on a range of family goals, some of which may not be directly related to housing crises.

The study adopted a longitudinal approach in which vulnerable families were interviewed over a 14 month period, from October 2010 to November 2011.

Link to document:

Poverty In Australia
15th October 2012
  by ACOSS

This is the first of a regular series of factual reports on Poverty and Inequality in Australia prepared by ACOSS in partnership with Anglicare Australia, St Vincent de Paul Society, and the Salvation Army.

Economic problems come to our attention because they are regularly measured and reported. Opinion leaders and policy makers pour over the data on gross domestic product and unemployment. The social implications are often overlooked because they aren’t measured, and if they are, they aren’t brought to public attention. Poverty and inequality are good examples of this.

People are concerned about extremes of inequality and poverty but have little information to go by. Most people think that income and wealth are distributed more equally than it is and have little idea who is living below the poverty line.
This report aims to fill some of the information gaps by measuring the extent of poverty in Australia and the people most effected.

Download here (1046kb)
Family violence & Women with Disailities
6th October 2012
  by Women's health West

In 2010, Women’s Health West (WHW) commenced a project to develop an intensive case management model to respond to women with a disability experiencing family violence. This project attempted to increase these women’s access to family violence services through a number of measures within an intensive case management model.

What’s the law? Australian law for new arrivals
4th October 2012
  by Victorian Legal Aid

The education kit is designed to help new arrivals identify legal issues and understand where to go to for legal help.It can be used by teachers, educators and community workers who work with migrants and refugees and includes a DVD of 10 simple English photo-stories about common legal problems that people newly arrived to Australia may encounter. The kit also includes activity sheets to build students’ comprehension and reinforce key messages and answer sheets, including notes for teachers about how to use the kit.

Link to document:

Research Release: Homelessness and Older Australians, Scoping the Issues
1st October 2012
  by Petersen, M. and Jones, A. University of Queensland, Institute for Social Science Research

This research project, funded under the 2009-13 National Homelessness Research Agenda, examines the nature and extent of homelessness in Australia’s older population and considers the policy, practice and research responses that are required for this population group if the Australian Government’s long-term goals to halve the rate of homelessness are to be achieved.

Link to document:

Home At Last
24th September 2012
  by Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG)

Home at Last is a Homelessness Innovation Action Project that Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) are running. The service aims to provide housing information, advice, linkages and referrals as appropriate to specialist support services and housing providers for older people who are in housing difficulties/struggling to maintain their private rental properties.

Home at Last will provide a state-wide central contact point for older people who are at risk of homelessness. Download the brochure below for more information about the service.

Download here (4250kb)
Cost-effective methods for evaluation of neighbourhood renewal programs
19th September 2012
  by AHURI

This project compares the house price profiles before and after the introduction of neighbourhood renewal programs to consider the impact of these programs on perceived amenity (as proxied by house prices).

Link to document:

Stopping Violence Against Women Before It Happens: A Practical Toolkit For Communities
18th September 2012
  by National Rural Women’s Network, in partnership with AWAVA and QCDFVR

National Rural Women’s Network, in partnership with AWAVA and QCDFVR, has produced a practical toolkit for communities to prevent violence against women. The toolkit has been developed to assist rural communities contribute to the implementation of the primary prevention focus of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children (2010-2022). The toolkit consists of 15 fact sheets that can be used individually or together as a series to help your community understand and take action to stop violence against women before it happens.

Link to document:

Finding work: Homelessness and Employment
7th September 2012
  by Mavromaras, King and Macaitis, Flinders University Mallett & Batterham, Hanover Research Services

This research funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs under the National Homelessness Research Agenda, is a pilot study that investigates the issues faced by jobseekers experiencing homelessness in their search for work. The findings are based on information from interviews with 32 jobseekers and 17 service providers from five Job Services Australia (JSA) organisations, two specialist homelessness services and two social enterprises. The research contributes to development of an evidence base for use in developing effective policies to assist this group of jobseekers. The study addresses four questions:

1.What are the personal, social and structural barriers to employment faced by homeless jobseekers?

2.What actions can help to overcome these barriers?

3.How did homeless and employment services assist homeless jobseekers address these barriers?

4.What are the implications of the research findings for policy in relation to homeless jobseekers?

As a pilot study the research also aimed to identify which issues relating to homelessness and employment required further investigation.

Link to document:

What do I do when…? A practical guide to the law for people who work with young people
6th September 2012
  by Youthlaw

If you work with young people aged between 12–25 years this resource aims to provide accessible information about the law to help you feel more comfortable in your interactions with the law and the legal system.

Homeless with Support Segment Appeals Brochure
6th September 2012
  by Department of Human Services Victoria

Information for clients on how to appeal a decision made by their support provider if they do not endorse their application for public housing under the Homeless with Support category.

Homeless with Support Segment Appeals Poster
6th September 2012
  by Department of Human Services Victoria

Poster providing information for clients on how to appeal a decision made by their support provider if they do not endorse their application for public housing under the Homeless with Support category.

Homeless with Support Segment Appeal Form AF2 Appeal
6th September 2012
  by Department of Human Services Victoria

The Appeal Form that clients need to complete in order to appeal a decision made by their support provider if they do not endorse their application for public housing under the Homeless with Support category.

Working in the Trenches: Compassion Fatigue and Job Satisfaction among Workers
6th September 2012
  by Alena M Howell, St Catherines Unversity

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between workers’ experiences of compassion fatigue and workers’ experiences of job satisfaction as they engage with homeless clientele with various presenting concerns.

Findings were based on surveys of employees from a targeted agency in America that serves homeless clientele. Data was collected and analysed using various statistical and calculative methods.

These findings indicated that a correlative relationship exists between workers’ experiences of compassion fatigue and experiences of job satisfaction, although the correlation appears to be weak. The findings point to the need for continued efforts to identify and treat compassion fatigue among workers, and the continued need to investigate the role of compassion satisfaction opportunities as they influence experiences of job satisfaction.

Link to document:

Information Paper – A Statistical Definition of Homelessness (
6th September 2012
  by Australian Bureau of Statistics

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has recently released an information paper which “presents the Australian Bureau of Statistics statistical definition of homelessness. The definition was developed in consultation with the ABS’ Homelessness Statistics Reference Group. Future ABS surveys will adopt this definition. However, not all dimensions of the definition can be operationalised in all data collections. The ABS will publish an Information Paper: Guide to Homelessness Statistics (cat. no. 4923.0) in November 2012 to assist users with analysing the multiple data sources available to obtain a more complete picture of homelessness.”

The paper states that the ABS is continuing to undertake research for how to best count homelessness for specific demographic groups such as youth and Indigenous Australians.

Link to document:

No. 192: Housing affordability, housing stress and household wellbeing in Australia
5th September 2012
  by Steven Rowley, Rachel Ong - AHURI

This project examines whether there is a link between measures of housing stress (using the 30:40 rule) and other measures of social and economic wellbeing, including using longitudinal data.

Link to document:

Top twenty data sources for describing community wellbeing in Victoria
3rd September 2012
  by Felicity Rhodes, Jeanette Pope - Department of Planning and Community Development

We have selected the top twenty data sources to help you describe community wellbeing in Victoria. They cover a broad range of topics from population, workforce, social and multicultural features, services and facilities, children and families, health, disadvantage, participation, amenity, economy, industry and transport.

For each resource you will find:

  • a list of topics or subject areas the resource contains;
  • a key telling you the geographic area the data describes (see
    below); and
  • a link to the data source.

Link to document:

Mapping and Reviewing Homelessness Programs
3rd September 2012
  by Assoc. Professor Jo Baulderstone, Dr Eleanor Button, Flinders University

This research set out to answer what programs exist to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; as well as exploring what does the evidence suggest works well for different groups and in what context(s).

The outcomes of the research found that comprehensively mapping the service system proved surprisingly difficult, highlighting the multiplicity of funding sources and data systems. Synthesis of findings from 190 reports highlighted broad attributes of services and service systems that most usefully assist homeless people, and also identified limitations in approaches to evaluation. The findings confirm the view that long-term housing without long-term, flexible support and vice versa can limit the opportunities for people to permanently move on from homelessness. This report will assist policy development; sector planning and program design; and project funding decisions.

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26 Young Women and Family Violence Community of Practice
18 National Youth Homelessness Conference: 18 and 19 March