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Aspire is informed by a Housing First approach and the program design draws on learnings from prior research and practice wisdom about what does and doesn’t work in responding to homelessness, particularly chronic or recurrent homelessness experienced by people with so-described ‘complex needs’ (such as co-occurring mental or physical health issues, trauma, disability and/or problematic drug or alcohol use). While Aspire was not specifically designed for people with complex needs, participants often fit this category as these needs are strongly associated with experiencing chronic and recurrent homelessness.

The Aspire program design aligns with previous findings that effective homelessness interventions are based on person-centred, flexible, holistic and coordinated case management over a sustained period, with rapid (re)housing and wraparound post-housing supports to increase the chances of people staying housed. Aspire aims for caseloads of around one to 15 (rather than the common one to 25 or more in other case management programs) and offers participants up to three years of supports (rather than the common three to six months).

The evaluation findings indicate that Aspire is a highly effective homelessness intervention, especially for people with complex needs and/or experiencing chronic or recurrent homelessness, for whom more conventional service delivery approaches may not deliver sustainable benefits. The quantitative data analysis indicates that Aspire participation is associated with people successfully exiting homelessness and sustaining their tenancies over the medium term, alongside a reduction in accessing emergency accommodation services, decreased use of hospital services and less interaction with justice services, delivering significant cost savings to government.

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