Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Homelessness Research to Improve Programs

The results of five new research projects under the Gillard Government $11.4 million National Homelessness Research Agenda will help shape homelessness policy, Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor said today.

The research will contribute to the Government’s understanding of how to better meet the needs of vulnerable people and reduce homelessness. “This is a complex issue and we need research and tools to break the cycle of homelessness in this country,” Mr O’Connor said.

“It is not as simple as putting a roof over someone’s head – we need to ensure that support services like health care, counselling and employment are effectively helping vulnerable people.

“This research looks at the challenges facing the dedicated workers who help the most vulnerable in our community every day, and highlights the size of the challenge, the work already underway and areas where we can do better.

“It will help us develop and deliver future policy and programs, so we can deliver the right services for people in need.

“All Australians deserve a safe, secure home.

“The Government is committed to tackling the challenge of homelessness. Since 2008, we have increased funding by almost $5 billion to address homelessness, including new homes as well as new and expanded support services across each state and territory.

“This research gives us a better picture of homelessness and a better guide for governments and community organisations in tackling homelessness.”

A synopsis of the research papers, which are available at, is below.

Developing an Effective Homelessness Workforce (University of Queensland) This research presents the first detailed picture of the Australian specialist homelessness workforce, and the issues and challenges an estimated 11,600 sector workers face every day.  It examines the need for innovative career paths for the workforce, which the Government also recognises as a critical factor to the future of the sector.

Pulling it All Together: Design Considerations for an Integrated Homelessness Services System – Place Based Network Analysis (Queensland University of Technology) This study highlights the importance of interpersonal relationships and the value of coordination and localised outreach programs.

What makes a difference?  Building a foundation for nationally consistent outcome measures: an evidence based client outcomes model for homelessness (Home Ground Service) This research identifies the need to focus on sustaining housing over time, bringing together evidence from more than 125 national and international studies, and looking at how agencies and individual practice fit into the larger picture and contribute to long-term outcomes.

Integrated Service Delivery in a Regional Homelessness Service System (Northern Rivers Social Development Council) This paper draws on evidence to suggest ways to improve homelessness services in regional areas. It supports local approaches including local capacity assessments and tailoring interventions to existing service systems.

A Review of Victorian Education Initiatives Relating to Youth Homelessness (Swinburne University of Technology) This paper looks at developing a more coordinated system of support services for young people in Geelong, Victoria, by improving collaboration between schools and community systems to address the needs of vulnerable students.