This research project builds on previous research and the insights of practitioners and policy stakeholders in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. It aims to examine the capacity of existing systems of measurement to identify what is working well, those elements that could be expanded to improve housing and wellbeing outcomes, and the potential for system redesign where that would bring benefits. The project is part of a wider evidence-based policy inquiry reviewing the evidence base and providing policy recommendations for reconfiguring the Australian homelessness services system in order to strategically and systematically support the prevention and minimisation of homelessness for people of all ages.
- The current homelessness services system has strengths and challenges as well as constraints on its effectiveness for different population groups, including different groups of families. Families experiencing homelessness because of domestic and family violence have different service needs and characteristics from those who are homeless for other reasons.
- Census and service use data show that in the last few years there has been a disproportionate increase in the number of families who are homeless. This has been led by rising numbers made homeless due to experiencing domestic and family violence, poverty, and a lack of affordable and suitable accommodation. In 2017–18, 64 per cent of people seeking support from Specialist Homelessness Services were in a family living arrangement.
- Homelessness is driven by both structural and individual factors, and effective systems need to respond to both. More needs to be known about how and in what circumstances the interaction of structural and individual factors lead to family homelessness in Australia.
- Prevention and early intervention are critical to homelessness policy and practice, and are especially critical for families who are at risk of homelessness. There are significant potential benefits in the development of robust measures of homelessness prevention and better knowledge about effective practice and policy in early intervention.