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

Supporting women who remain in violent relationships
24th July 2012
  by Gaby Marcus - Director, Australian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse

In a domestic and family violence service system predicated on the view that the optimal outcome for victims is to separate from their abuser, women who separate from their abuser, women who remain with violent partners often experience significant barriers to support and assistance. This Thematic Review examines five key texts that challenge this conventional service response and encourage practitioners and policy makers to more realistically address issues for women living with violent partners.

Link to document:

What do we know about dating violence among Australian adolescents?
24th July 2012
  by MEGAN SETY - Information and Research Officer, Australian Domestic & Family Violence Clearinghouse

Promoting healthy and respectful relationships among young people is a key focus of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. The Personal Safety Survey, Australia and the Australian component of the  International Violence Against Women Survey have indicated that young women between the ages of eighteen and twenty four are at higher risk than other women of intimate partner violence. A growing body of international research, primarily from the United States (US), is raising awareness that the risk of  violence amongst adolescents may begin even earlier.

Link to document:

NWHN and NW LASN respone to "Pathways to a Fair and Sustainable Social Housing System."
20th July 2012
  by NWHN ans NW LASN

The North West Homelessness Network (NWHN) and the North West Local Area Services Network (NW LASN) welcomes this opportunity to respond to the Victorian Government's discussion paper: "Pathways to a Fair and Sustainable Social Housing System." We hope that the feedback presented in this joint submission will add to a constructive discussion and provide ideas and recommendations for the way forward for social housing in Victoria.

In order to seek regional views and input into this submission we held a NW Regional Consultation on June 7th which was well attended by 48 staff, representing a cross section of NW Homelessness Service System (HSS) staff as well as our colleagues from allied and mainstream sectors.

National Housing Research Program Research Agenda 2013
10th July 2012
  by AHURI

AHURI has released its National Housing Research Program Research Agenda 2013 which provides direction for research that will build on AHURI’s housing evidence-base.

People in Improvised Dwellings, Tents and Sleepers Out
5th July 2012
  by Chris Chamberlain, Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University, June 2012

This research project was funded by the Australian Government under the 2009-13 National Homelessness Research Agenda. 

This report summarises information from the national project, Counting the Homeless 2006 by Chamberlain and MacKenzie. The national report was published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2008, and reports on each state and territory were published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2009. 

The purpose of this report is to provide background information for the evaluation of Street to Home programs being undertaken in Australian capital cities.

The main data source for the Census analysis was the ABS Census of Population and Housing 2006. However, this data was supplemented by information from the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) National Data Collection and the third National Census of Homeless School Students. Chamberlain and MacKenzie also carried out telephone interviews with about 500 service providers and public officials across the country. Local informants were selected purposively, in order to check the reliability of Census data in particular communities and to understand more about what was happening on the ground. In most places, three to four people were interviewed.

This report begins by explaining how the 2006 Census count was carried out. Then it estimates the number of people in improvised dwellings (sheds, garages and cabins) and the number of people sleeping rough (public places, derelict buildings, tents, cars, etc.). Finally, the appendices summarise statistical information on homeless people in 2006, by state and territory.

To download the report click on the link below.

Keeping Off the streets: Effective Models of Intervention with People who are Sleeping Rough
5th July 2012
  by Jo Baulderstone, Flinders University of South Australia

This report, funded by the Australian Government under the 2009-13 National Homelessness Research Agenda, documents Street to Home (STH) services and models in South Australia (SA), Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory (NT), is the first of three reports in a longitudinal study that aims to fill the evidence gap on approaches to delivering, and the effectiveness of, services that are designed to respond to the needs of people sleeping rough. The research will be completed in late 2012. This research is focused on:

  • documenting service models of Street to Home services aimed at reducing rough sleeping across three jurisdictions in Australia;
  • identifying key characteristics of Street to Home services delivered in these jurisdictions;
  • identifying the contextual factors and service system attributes which support the attainment and maintenance of sustainable tenancies for people sleeping rough.

This first report is based on data collected in the first round of interviews with STH service staff in WA, SA and the NT. In the NT, government staff connected with funding and strategic development of the STH Program were also interviewed. Interviews with STH clients about their current situations, the services they accessed with the assistance of STH staff as well as their housing pathways, will be reported later in 2012.

Researchers found that STH initiatives in SA, WA and the NT differ from one another as well as from the Common Ground S2H model developed in the USA. The context within which all STH services operated was important and influenced the range or amount of assistance STH services were able to offer their clients. In general, there was little evidence of service capacity being bolstered by formal mechanisms and in the main all initiatives required a significant amount of liaison between staff and workers in other agencies.

To download the report click on the link below.

Street to Home in Australia: New Approaches to Ending Rough Sleeping in Brisbane and Sydney
5th July 2012
  by Andrew Jones and Cameron Parsell - Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensla

This report, funded by the Australian Government under the 2009-13 National Homelessness Research Agenda, examines the Service System Capacity of Brisbane’s Street to Home and Sydney’s Way2Home programs. ‘Service System Capacity’ refers to the resources available to the programs and their overall capacity to achieve their aims and objectives. Examining the resources and capacities of these two programs also provides a means to assess the extent to which these two Australian programs are consistent with, or differ from, the international programs and ideas on which they are based.

Both Brisbane’s Street to Home and Sydney’s Way2Home programs have been implemented as part of a broader objective of achieving government goals of halving overall homelessness by 2020 and realising measurable reductions in the numbers of people sleeping rough in their respective locations. The ‘street to home’ model was implemented in Australia, first in Adelaide in 2005, and then nationally as part of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness in 2009. Based on the successes attributed to the ‘street to home’ model in the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US), many Australian policy makers see ‘street to home’ as an evidence-based approach to reducing homelessness. This evidence-based approach can be contrasted with traditional responses to people sleeping rough in Australia (Australian Government 2008). Thus the ‘street to home’ approach is positioned as addressing limitations within the dominant service system, whilst forming part of a targeted strategy to achieve measurable reductions in homelessness in Australia.

To download the report click on the link below.

Mapping services for rough sleepers in Hobart, Canberra and Melbourne
5th July 2012
  by Nicola Wylie and Guy Johnson - RMIT University

This research project was funded by the Australian Government under the 2009-13 National Homelessness Research Agenda.

Since the mid 1980s Australia has been one of the few western countries to develop a national response to homelessness. Starting with the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) and more recently with the Specialist Homelessness System (SHS), Australian policy responses have attempted to provide assistance to a broad range of people experiencing housing related problems.

When service systems expand and/or alter their focus service duplication is often a paramount concern to policy makers and service providers alike. In an environment where there are insufficient resources to meet demand it is crucial that new services avoid replicating existing service responses and add to the capacity of the existing system. Consequently, it is important that there is a clear understanding of the focus and capacity of newly funded services to ensure that they are capable of meeting the policy goals for which they were funded. Service mapping is one technique used by policy makers and policy analysts to understand service capacity and avoid the problem of service duplication.

The aim of this report is to map the number and capacity of services whose primary role is to assist chronically homeless rough sleepers in Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne (Victoria) and Canberra (ACT).

To download the report click on the link below.

Why are special services needed to address Indigenous homelessness?
5th July 2012
  by Paul Memmott, Christina Birdsall-Jones and Kelly Greenop - The University of Queensland

This research report, funded by the Australian Government under the 2009-13 National Homelessness Research Agenda, addresses the question ‘why is it at times necessary to engage special service delivery responses to effectively address Indigenous homelessness?’ 

The authors speak to the concerns of government policy makers in this field generally as well as relevant administrators and non-government organisations (NGOs) engaged in designing programs and services for Aboriginal homeless and public place dwelling people.

They begin with a discussion of the policy context and relevance of the report including a discussion of recent trends in policy towards mainstreaming of services provided for Indigenous homeless people. An introductory section also contains a short historical contextualisation of Indigenous homelessness which aims to demonstrate how it is different to homelessness in other sectors of the community and introduces some of the culturally specific drivers as well as a demographic profile. Various identified historical camping lifestyles will provide a background to the reasons for the currency within Aboriginal living memory of the practice of camping which enables many contemporary Aboriginal people to engage in camping in public places when no other housing option is accessible.

The report contains an analysis of the recent empirical studies of Indigenous homeless people which brings forth some of the specific multiple causes, conditions and implications of Indigenous homelessness. This leads to the development of a set of homeless categories to define the specific conditions of Indigenous homelessness that the authors argue is more relevant and useful for policy makers and service practitioners.

The authors discuss Indigenous public place dwellers and develop a more nuanced understanding than previously reported in the published literature of this little understood phenomenon, based on fieldwork and studies over the past several decades, and illustrated with case study examples. This in turn is linked to the short discussion in Section 4 which outlines the risks faced by rough sleepers.

An analysis of conditions of housed people who are at risk of homelessness which the authors argue is a second category of homelessness that is often overlooked or under-reported in survey and census data and therefore by policy making is discussed.

The report also discusses terms such as ‘spiritual homelessness’, concerns about the nature of practice responses to Indigenous homelessness and public place dwelling, and briefly examines cross-cultural differences in the values underlying whether particular Aboriginal lifestyle behaviours that can be associated with homelessness, may or may not be legitimised.

To download the report click on the link below.

25th June 2012
  by Australian Government

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE - To the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family, Community, Housing and Youth report: Housing the Homeless - Report on the Inquiry into Homelessness Legislation.

In the Australian 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 remains committed to introducing legislation and has welcomed the Committee’s recommendations and input.

The Government’s intention is to introduce this legislation as soon as possible following consultation on an exposure draft. The new legislation 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 full document click on the link below.

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:

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