The research examined the prevalence of intergenerational homelessness in Australia and found that almost half of those currently receiving homelessness assistance had parents who themselves experienced homelessness. Prevention and early intervention programs, especially those oriented to Indigenous people are critical in breaking the cycle of intergenerational homelessness.
The key research method used to address the study’s research questions was the use of a survey instrument administered to current clients of homelessness services. Data collection occurred between November 2009 and March 2010, and the total number of surveys returned was 647 making the study one of the largest studies of homelessness in Australia. In addition, focus groups with service providers of specialist homelessness services in NSW pursued in more depth issues arising from the survey data.
The research revealed the following key findings:
The study’s findings show that earlier occurrences of homelessness may be a predicator of subsequent adult homelessness and that the role of individual family risk factors appears critical to the experience of many adult homeless people irrespective of the significant influence of system-level responses and the availability of affordable accommodation. This has significant implications for interventions for families.
The study concludes that prevention and early intervention programs, especially those oriented to Indigenous people and children are critical in breaking the cycle of intergenerational homelessness.