Providing adequate assistance for people to overcome the extraordinary circumstances that lead to homelessness and unemployment seems, on the face of it, to make good sense. Yet there are diverse opinions about what adequate or meaningful assistance may comprise. One idea is that joining up otherwise discrete government and non-government services can improve outcomes for people facing multiple disadvantages. YP4 is a randomised controlled trial of service delivery options for people experiencing the double disadvantage of homelessness and unemployment. It is an initiative of Hanover Welfare Services, in conjunction with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Melbourne Citymission and Loddon Mallee Housing Services. The service delivery option of greatest interest to YP4 is joined up services.
This paper from the 2007 Australian Social Policy Conference focuses on the highly unusual experience of designing and implementing a randomised controlled trial in Australia and on the various challenges of creating a joined up service delivery model. It also provides detailed information about the experiences, before joining the trial, of the 414 trial participants.