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Statement by the Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, the Hon Brendan O’Connor, MP
20th June 2012
  by The Hon Brendan O’Connor, MP

It is not acceptable in this country, a relatively wealthy one, that so many Australians are homeless. It is not acceptable that a widowed pensioner can't find a bed. 

Or that a teenager is sleeping rough. 

It is not acceptable that a mother and her children are living in a car. 

Everyone deserves a safe and secure home. 

A home is the foundation on which a person builds their life.

To download the full statement click on the link below.

Homelessness Bill 2012 - Exposure Darft
7th June 2012

In the Commonwealth Government’s White Paper on homelessness, The Road Home, the Government outlined its desire to introduce new homelessness legislation to ensure that people who are homeless receive quality services and adequate support.

The Government’s intention is to introduce this legislation as soon as possible following consultation on the exposure draft released today.

The Homelessness Bill 2012 will replace the Supported Accommodation Assistance Act 1994 (Cth) (SAA Act), which set out important principles and has guided the Commonwealth’s response to homelessness in Australia since first legislated in 1985. The SAA Act was primarily a vehicle for providing funding to States and Territories to administer the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP). New funding arrangements were introduced in 2009 under the federal financial relations framework, superseding the funding mechanism of the SAA Act.

To download the Exposure Draft of the Homelessness Bill 2012 click on the link below.

Pathways Into and Within Social Housing
31st May 2012
  by Australian Housing and Urban Research Group (AHURI)

A growing body of research in Australia has generated a wealth of insight into the barriers facing a range of disadvantaged groups in obtaining and sustaining suitable housing in the private sector.

The study’s principle aim was to chart a range of pathways into and within the current Australian social housing system at a time of significant changes to the sector, including the expansion of community housing, the introduction of common access systems in a number of states, and increased targeting of social housing towards those in greatest need.

Download here (1712kb)
Housing Supply Bonds—a suitable instrument to channel investment towards affordable housing in Austr
31st May 2012
  by Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)

The aim of this study is to develop a special purpose financial instrument, identified in this report as Housing Supply Bonds, to finance the supply of affordable rental housing in Australia. It builds on international research evaluating alternative mechanisms to channel private investment towards affordable rental housing and focuses specifically on the well-established and successful bond mechanism that is used in Austria as a catalyst for development of an appropriate mechanism for Australian conditions.

Download here (1139kb)
31st May 2012
  by Australian Housing and Urban Research Group (AHURI)

How can secure occupancy in rental housing be improved in Australia?

Historically, policy-makers in Australia have prioritised home ownership as the main tenure to deliver secure occupancy, while the private rental sector has served as the ‘tenure of transition’. It was assumed that renters would quickly move into home ownership or, if not, would obtain these benefits from social housing.

These assumptions have been undermined by two trends. First, housing affordability problems mean that households on low to moderate incomes find it difficult to purchase a home, and longer term renting is becoming more common. Second, the social rental sector has insufficient accommodation to house many of those on low incomes.

Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot 2012 - Report
18th May 2012
  by Anglicare Australia

The Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot is an annual project surveying the affordability of rental properties for people living on a low income in Australia. Developed by the Social Action Research Centre at Anglicare Tasmania in 2007, the Snapshot was designed to highlight the lived experience of looking for housing whilst on a low income.  Over 65,000 properties were audited across 15 localities on the Snapshot weekend. The results are stark for anyone living on a low income, included in which is federal income support and the minimum wage. High level figures are given for our capital cities however it can not be overstated that housing affordability is as much a regional issue as it is an urban one.

The economic and social impact of cost of living pressures on people accessing emergency relief
18th May 2012
  by The Salvation Army

A new Salvos poll reveals that more than half of the respondents have gone without meals to pay for other basic necessities. In the run up to The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal the Salvos polled over 1,700 clients which the organisation says provided disturbing data around the huge struggle many marginalised Australians are facing.

AHURI Homelessness Research Conference Report 2012
17th May 2012
  by Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

The two day Homelessness Research Conference was co-hosted by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and RMIT University in Melbourne on 19 and 20 April 2012. It was an ideal setting for participants to further their understandings, exchange ideas and develop professional networks. 

Download here (1561kb)
What Makes a Difference? - Buiding a foundation for nationally consistent outcome measures
9th May 2012
  by AHURI, Homeground Services; Hanover Welfare Services & Melbourne Citymission.

This research was conducted as a partnership between Homeground Services, the Australian Housing & Urban Research Institute, Hanover Welfare Services and Melbourne Citymission.

Homeground provided project management and a Steering Committee was formed by the project partners and invited participants. The research was led by Hellene Gronda, Director of the Research Synthesis Service.

The purpose of the project was to build on recent Australian and international research, policy and practice literature, to establish a conceptual framework for a nationally consistent, practice - relevant set of client outcomes measures for people experiencing homelessness.

What the project found were two simple but profound conclusions that guided development of the client outcomes model:

1. a shift in focus from getting housing to sustaining housing will deliver better outcomes

2. Achieving outcomes for people experiencing homelessness takes shared accountability between mainstream and specialist services

Download here (3209kb)
Access to Housing - Victorian Auditor General's Report
29th March 2012
  by Victorian Auditor-General

Safe, secure housing is essential for good health, employment, education and community wellbeing. Without access to affordable housing, some people risk homelessness or struggle to meet utility, food and other basic living costs. Public housing is an important way that government assists those in housing need.  This audit examined how effectively the division plans for, and maintains public housing assets, to support current and future access for eligible tenants. The  situation for public housing is critical. The current operating model and asset management approach places the long-term provision of this vital public service  at risk. Despite a growing need for housing support in our community, DHS has not set overarching direction for public housing or taken a strategic, comprehensive approach to managing this $17.8 billion property portfolio.

No Room to Move Report
23rd March 2012
  by The Salvation Army Adult Services - Community Outreach Services

The Outer West Rooming House Project ran for 14 months from November 2009 - January 2011 and was developed, auspiced and managed by the Salvation Army Adult Services - Community Outreach Services in Kensington.

The vision for this project was to provide both active and proactive support to people living in privately run multiple occupancy Rooming Houses in Brimbank, Maribyrnong and Hobson's Bay in Melbourne's western suburbs.

The Rooming House Project clearly demonstrated that with targeted support, positive & lasting outcomes in housing, health & well being can be achieved.

Download here (2403kb)
9th March 2012
  by The Australian Housing and Urban Research Centre

This essay critically analysed how the Housing First approach could be successfully applied to the system of supported housing in Australia.

Housing First approaches are based on the concept that a homeless individual’s first and primary need is to obtain stable housing, and that other issues that may impact the household can and should be addressed once permanent housing is obtained. It involves housing people in the wider community with clients receiving support when they require it from multidisciplinary Assertive Community Teams (ACT). It can be contrasted with the ‘continuum care’ model, which makes progress to permanent housing conditional upon committing to address issues such as addictions and managing mental health, and is often provided through congregate living arrangements.

The Housing First model first came to prominence in America, but now programs have commenced in Australia. Evaluation evidence from the United States suggests that rates of retention in housing are much higher in the Housing First model compared to continuum care models, thus substantially reducing the incidence of homelessness. However, outcomes in terms social inclusion and recovery from substance abuse have been less impressive, and the cost savings associated with the model (in terms of reduced hospitalization acute treatment and involvement with criminal justice) do not meet the cost of providing supportive housing.

The authors argue that the Housing First model has much to recommend it for Australia, but care should be exercised in applying the model in Australia, which faces a different policy environment to the United States. For example, because many of the principles underpinning Housing First (client empowerment, voluntary nature of accessing services) are already present in mainstream services, we might not expect the dramatic improvements witnessed in the United States. Furthermore, there has been substantial ‘policy drift’ over the course of time which has meant that Housing First models in Australia have already been altered from the formulation in the US, entailing the need for independent evaluation in an Australian context.

KPMG Report - Victorian Housing Framework - social housing options 2012
7th March 2012
  by KPMG and Department of Human Services

KPMG was engaged by the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide a discussion paper that explores the supply-side mechanisms available to improve the availability of quality social housing in Victoria in a financially sustainable manner. These options were examined against the key objectives of:

  • Protecting and enhancing the continued use of social housing resources for those people most in need of assistance.
  • Capturing the potential for growth in social housing opportunities.

The focus of this discussion paper is to explore some of the options available to the Victorian Government to increase the supply of social housing in Victoria.

Download here (2066kb)
Multi-generation households in Australian cities (Essay)
15th February 2012
  by AHURI

One in five Australians now live in a household that comprises two or more generations of related adults. This Essay argues that if the upward trend observed over the last 25 years continues, this will have implications for policy-makers and other stakeholders in relation to a range of policy concerns including urban planning and aged care service provision.

Link to document:

North West Metropolitan Region Orientation to the Homelessness Service System
14th February 2012

The North & West Metropolitan homelessness service system (HSS) is made up of over 200 programs that are funded to provide assistance to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

Five of these services are funded through the Transitional Housing Management (THM), to provide; Initial assessment & planning; Transitional Housing; Housing Establishment Funds (HEF); and Special Housing Needs Assessment.

The remaining programs are funded as Specialist Homelessness Services to provide case managed support to assist people to move from crisis to stable, long term housing. These include: women’s refuges, youth refuges, other crisis accommodation services and case managed support provided on an outreach basis to people in other forms of accommodation or ‘living rough’.

Download here (1758kb)
Refuge for Babies in Crisis
8th February 2012
  by Wendy Nunston & Robyn Sketchley

Crisis accommodation workers are often the first point of contact or “first aid” for mothers and their infants seeking refuge from family violence. While shelters provide the physical safety, workers within them have an opportunity to provide the much needed emotional safety for these infants and their mothers, beginning with acknowledging that infants are affected by family violence.

This educational resource for refuge/crisis accommodation workers consists of a comprehensive workbook and DVD. The package promotes working with infants who have been traumatized by their experience of family violence, while strengthening attachment relationships between the mothers and babies who seek refuge accommodation. This informative resource will change the way workers “see” babies and infants within their services and will have a lasting impact on the incredibly important work that they do. The project is funded by the Australian Government.

Download here (1328kb)
The Women's Leadership Alliance Brochure
1st February 2012

The Women’s Leadership Alliance combines leadership development workshops with peer networking to create a forum for professional development and support.

The program comprises 4 half day workshops over 8 weeks covering the following areas:

  • Self awareness (what is my natural leadership style?) 
  • Environmental awareness (How do I interact within my work environment?)
  • Creating balance (What truly matters to me?) 
  • The leadership path (Navigating my leadership journey)

Download here (1402kb)
Consultations concerning a NQF for the Provision of Services to People who are Homeless or at Risk
30th January 2012
  by Department of Families, Housing, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs

The Department has released the Stage 2 report produced by Ipsos-Eureka Social Research Institute. It is based on consultations with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and with service providers on quality service provisions.

Link to document:

Street Health CBD Postcards
30th January 2012
  by Pivot West and Doutta Galla Community Health Service

The Street Health Mobile Medical Unit operates from the corner of Swanston St and Flinders Lane. Easily recognisable, it is parked on the footpath next to St. Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday and Friday nights between 7pm-10pm each week.

People experiencing / at risk of homelessness or experiencing other forms of disadvantage can turn up to the van without an appointment. The van has a doctor (non-pharmacotherapy prescribing) and a mental health nurse available at all sessions. Every second Friday, a DGCHS Health Time support worker also attends to facilitate referral pathways into other welfare services.

FRMP’s Six Month Report July – December 2011
5th January 2012
  by Family Reconciliation Mediation Program (FRMP)

Read about FRMP’s achievements for the last six months which include delivering 6 professional development workshops, data on FRMP brokerage and the role out of the Respite Care Pilot program.

Link to document:

Rental Report September Quarter 2011
31st December 2011
  by Department of Human Services, Victorian Government, Australia

The Rental Report provides key statistics on the private rental market in Victoria. The major source for the statistics presented in the Rental Report is the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority which collects data on all rental bonds lodged under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (VIC). The report provides the September quarter overview; current rents; rental availability; and rental market affordability.

Download here (1662kb)
Homelessness: A Silent Killer
30th December 2011
  by Crisis

A research briefing on mortality amongst homeless people which draws on and sets out the interim findings of a study investigating homeless mortality in England.

Key points:

  • The average age of death of a homeless person is 47 years old and even lower for homeless women at just 43, compared to 77 for the general
  • Drug and alcohol abuse are particularly common causes of death amongst the homeless population, accounting for just over a third of all deaths.
  • Homeless people are over 9 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population
  • Deaths as a result of traffic accidents are 3 times as likely, infections twice as likely and falls over 3 times as likely.
  • Being homeless is incredibly difficult both physically and mentally and has
    significant impacts on people’s health and well being. Ultimately, homelessness kills.

Making Space for Learning - A guide for supporting traumatised children and young people at school
15th December 2011
  by Australian Childhood Foundation

The Australian Childhood Foundation has developed a free resource guide for responding to the needs of traumatised children in the school environment. Making Space for Learning uses the knowledge base about the neurobiology of trauma and relationship disruption to help unlock traumatised children and young people's potential to grow and develop at school. It has a range of very clear and simple-to-adapt strategies for supporting individual students and resourcing class rooms and schools.

Link to document:

Heartfelt - A collection of children's experiences and stories of abuse, recovery and hope
15th December 2011
  by Australian Childhood Foundation

The Heart Felt collection is a unique window into how the trauma of abuse affects and shapes the lives of children. Children's drawings reflect childhood as they experience it. Children draw pictures of people, events in their lives and ideas that hold some significance for them. Children's drawings give adults a glimpse into their world and how they experience the people in it. They provide the opportunity to understand the meaning that children attach to events and people in their lives. It is wonderful and powerful resource to use in training and community awareness initiatives.

Link to document:

People turned away from government funded specialist homelessness accommodation 2010-11
15th December 2011
  by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

This report presents data on the people turned away from government-funded specialist homelessness accommodation in 2010-11. It is the final report to be sourced from the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) National Data Collection (NDC). From 1 July 2011, data will be reported from the new Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) collection. The data collected indicate that government-funded specialist homelessness agencies are operating to capacity and are unable to completely meet the demand for accommodation. Some groups, such as families, experience more difficulty than others in obtaining accommodation.

Link to document:

Housing assistance, social inclusion and people with a disability
12th December 2011
  by AHURI

This project sought to understand how housing assistance affects social inclusion for persons with a disability and involved 98 face-to-face interviews with persons with a disability in NSW, SA and Vic; focus groups with service providers; and interviews with social housing providers.

The research found that housing assistance has a very substantial impact on the social inclusion of persons with a disability in Australia. Housing assistance:

  • Provides stability in the lives of persons living with a disability who would otherwise be vulnerable to a range of negative circumstances and who may otherwise have no sense of control over their lives.
  • Improves resilience and independence by helping people with a disability deal with crises in their lives in relation to health, family relationships, monetary concerns etc.
  • Reduces exposure to very high housing costs and the risk of eviction–thereby reducing vulnerability to homelessness.
  • Improves employability in paid employment which has social inclusion benefits both for the individual and broader society.
  • Provides opportunities for being heard so that people with disabilities find a voice within their community, which in turn enables engagement with wider social institutions.

Link to document:

Government-funded specialist homelessness services: SAAP National Data Collection 2010-2011
9th December 2011
  by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

This report presents the 2010-11 data on the use of government-funded specialist homelessness services. It is the final annual report to be sourced from the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) National Data Collection (NDC). From 1 July 2011, data on the people using specialist homelessness services will be reported from the new Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) collection. In 2010-11, an estimated 230,500 people (equivalent to 1 in 97 Australians) used specialist homelessness services. Young people, families and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continued to be significant users of services. The most common reasons why people sought support were interpersonal relationship issues (such as domestic or family violence); accommodation-related issues (such as being evicted); and financial issues (such as having insufficient money to pay for accommodation, food, bills or other essentials.

Link to document:

Youth mentoring
30th November 2011
  by AHURI

This research synthesis provides a rigorous analysis of the key elements of effective youth mentoring programs. The report considers national and international evidence on the value for investment and identifies evidence regarding the social and economic benefits for youth of quality one-to-one relationship based mentoring. The report was commissioned by the Victorian Youth Mentoring Alliance, the Office for Youth and the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, and prepared by AHURI's Research Synthesis Service.

Link to document:

Understanding the patterns, characteristics and trends in the housing sector labour force in Aust.
1st November 2011
  by Tony Dalton, Prem Chhetri, Jonathan Corcoran, Lucy Groenhart and Ralph Horne

AHURI Positioning Paper: No. 142 Understanding the patterns, characteristics and trends in the housing sector labour force in Australia aims to better understand the housing sector labour market and will answer the question: What are the principle constraints faced by the housing sector labour force in meeting the challenge of increasing housing supply? This research focuses on the supply of housing and in particular on the contribution that workers in the residential housing sector make to the supply of housing.

Link to document:

At home and in place? The role of housing in social inclusion
31st October 2011
  by Kath Hulse, Keith Jacobs, Kathy Arthurson and Angela Spinney

AHURI Final Report: No. 177, At home and in place? The role of housing in social inclusion, explored ways in which housing processes can affect social disadvantage and social inclusion. Drawing on case studies in Australia and the UK, it considered the extent to which housing and related policies and programs can be effective in promoting inclusion and reducing disadvantage.

Link to document:

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