In July 2018, the Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (WAAEH) released the Strategy to End Homelessness (the Strategy). The Strategy articulates a ten-year plan to end homelessness in Western Australia through invoking a whole-of-society response. An important part of the Strategy is a commitment to targets, including the vision that in ten years’ time the Western Australian rate of homelessness will be halved from its 2016 level, and that all forms of chronic homelessness including chronic rough sleeping will have ended. The Strategy also commits to the establishment of measurement, accountability and governance mechanisms ‘that are robust, transparent and open to external review … providing an on-going means for assessing progress in meeting the goals of Ending Homelessness in Western Australia in 10 years’ (p. 5).
The WAAEH, via Shelter WA, received funding from Lotterywest to develop the Outcomes Framework (the Framework) to measure and monitor progress towards ending homelessness. The Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia (CSI UWA) (a founding member of the WAAEH) undertook the task of developing the Framework (see #EndHomelessnessWA, Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness Outcomes Measurement and Evaluation Framework).
While the Framework seeks to operationalise the key targets of the 10-year Strategy and monitor our progress in ending homelessness in Western Australia, this report aims to synthesise existing data and connect that to what we know in terms of the thinking, responses and initiatives in Western Australia that are currently emerging.
Importantly, this report captures the voices of people who have a lived experience of homelessness as well as practitioners working in the sector. It is at this touchpoint—between frontline workers and clients who are seeking support—where the most valuable insights into what is working or not working can be found. This report presents the lived experience and practitioner perspectives side by side. When one mirrors and affirms the other, a powerful narrative about the way forward unfolds.
It is our hope that from here on we will get better at synthesising information sources and facilitating feedback loops within the homelessness sector and the community more generally, so that we can collectively enhance our understanding about what is effective for ending homelessness in this State. By continually learning together and integrating new perspectives, we will improve coordination and enhance local responses. There is also some cause to celebrate as we document the development and evolution of our responses to homelessness in WA.