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Report Homelessness

Supporting families effectively through the homelessness services system

Final Report No. 330

Date Published: 18 Jun 2020

Authors: kylie valentine Hazel Blunden Carole Zufferey Angela Spinney Farnaz Zirakbash

This research investigates the homelessness services system for families to identify what is working well; those elements that could be expanded to improve housing and wellbeing outcomes; and the potential for beneficial system redesign. 

In 2017–18, 64 per cent of people seeking support from Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) were in a family, having been made homeless due to experiencing domestic and family violence, poverty or a lack of affordable and suitable accommodation. Families who experience, or are at risk of homelessness due to poverty or adverse events have different needs from families whose experience of homelessness is caused primarily by domestic and family violence. The single category of ‘families’ collects these different experiences and characteristics, with implications for service design and delivery. 

There are potential benefits of increased collaboration among service providers, and changes to the organisation of emergency accommodation responses, to meet families’ needs and support their choice and agency.  Broader policy and program initiatives could incorporate a national homelessness strategy; boosting affordable housing supply; ongoing funding for Rapid Rehousing programs; prevention and early intervention responses; and supporting women and their children escaping domestic and family violence to establish secure housing. Supportive permanent housing and Housing First options combined with community-based services, permanent housing will assist families to avoid homelessness.

Streamlined access to services, combined with a system-wide ‘no wrong door’ approach to the service delivery system, including streamlined assessment processes, can improve service access and intervention. 

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri-7119201

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-925334-95-1


Citation: valentine, k., Blunden, H., Zufferey, C., Spinney, A., and Zirakbash, F. (2020) Supporting families effectively through the homelessness services system, AHURI Final Report No. 330, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/330, doi:10.18408/ahuri-7119201.

valentine, kylie
Blunden, Hazel
Zufferey, Carole
Spinney, Angela
Zirakbash, Farnaz