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Report Homelessness Housing assistance and policy Non shelter outcomes Social and affordable housing

Crisis accommodation in Australia: now and for the future

Final Report No. 407

Date Published: 31 Aug 2023

Authors: Deb Batterham Selina Tually Veronica Coram Kelly McKinley Violet Kolar Sean McNelis Ian Goodwin-Smith

This research explores the different crisis accommodation models operating in Australia, as well as the different approaches to case management and key principles for ensuring a supportive built environment. It documents what works and what doesn’t work, together with the needs and outcomes for those in crisis accommodation.

Formal crisis accommodation supports a range of people experiencing acute housing need, and in particular: women and children experiencing domestic and family violence; children and young people; Aboriginal Australians; people experiencing repeat or chronic homelessness; people with mental health issues or problematic substance use; and an increasing number of older Australians.

Crisis accommodation is concentrated in capital cities and major towns, with limited options available in regional and remote areas. On-site support is a significant element of many models, including congregate crisis supported accommodation services and youth and family violence refuges. 

To meet high demand, many SHSs across Australia also rely on purchasing short-term crisis accommodation from private operators of boarding houses, hotels, motels, hostels and caravan parks. This accommodation is often inappropriate and provides inadequate support for those who receive it.

The research provides a number of guidelines for policy makers including that quality and safety standards are needed for all crisis accommodation; enhanced integration of primary and allied health services with crisis accommodation can better deliver the supports people need; purchased crisis accommodation that falls below standards should not be used; and evaluating models of different services facilitate sharing of good practice and learnings to support continuous improvement.

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri5126801

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-922498-74-8


Batterham, D., Tually, S., Coram, V., McKinley, K., Kolar, V., McNelis, S. and Goodwin-Smith, I. (2023) Crisis accommodation in Australia: now and for the future, AHURI Final Report No. 407, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne,, doi: 10.18408/ahuri5126801.