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A continued shift? Learnings from the public health response to COVID-19 and homelessness

While the number of people housed under the emergency accommodation has been the subject of evaluation, there has been no analysis of effect of public health responses to COVID-19 on homelessness support services, how these impacted upon people experiencing homelessness and the delivery of services to them, and most importantly, what was learned about preventing and intervening in homelessness from this period of rapid policy, service and practice innovation. 

This research project aims to explore what public health, housing, and homelessness agencies have learned about policy and practice responses to homelessness through their engagement in the implementation of COVID-19 measures for homeless populations and service settings. The project will critically analyse the barriers/enablers of COVID-19 measures in national and international jurisdictions and empirically investigate the engagement between Australian public health agencies and homelessness services that was initially forced through the COVID-19 pandemic but subsequently gave rise to greater collaboration

The following research questions will be addressed:

  1. What were the barriers and enablers in the delivery of public health responses to people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 emergency?
  2. What have the Australian public health and homelessness sectors learned about responses to homelessness from their increased collaboration during the COVID-19 emergency?
  3. What are the guiding principles to strengthen ongoing collaboration between public health agencies and specialist homelessness services? 

The project will provide a review of the public health responses to homelessness and the collaboration between public health agencies and homelessness services during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will recommend how engagement between public health and homelessness services can be strengthened into the future.

Lead Researcher: Dr Chris Hartley

Project Number: 71317