Media Release by The Hon Mark Butler MP and The Hon Melissa Parke MP

Homelessness research helps guide Government response

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Mark Butler MP
    Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
    Minister for Housing and Homelessness
    Minister for Social Inclusion
    Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform

  • The Hon Melissa Parke MP
    Parliamentary Secretary for Homelessness and Social Housing
    Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health

The Australian Government is investing $3.3 million to continue its successful long-term homelessness research approach, and extend the Journeys Home study.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Mark Butler and Parliamentary Secretary for Homelessness and Social Housing Melissa Parke announced the Journeys Home study would continue for another year and an evaluation of research under the National Homelessness Research Agenda would begin in mid-2013.

“It is critical people have access to the right services, when they need them, so vulnerable Australians are less likely to fall through the cracks,” Mr Butler said.

“To tackle homelessness we must establish an accurate picture of why people become homeless and what the effects of homelessness are on people and society.

Mr Butler said the 2008 Government White Paper on Homelessness, The Road Home, identified a lack of research and data on homelessness.

“Based on that white paper, we immediately invested $11.4 million over four years towards a National Homelessness Research Agenda,” Mr Butler said.

“Since then, this research has provided us with a better understanding of all aspects of homelessness, and will continue to do so.

“We are now establishing a big picture of the demographics of homelessness and trends in housing instability thanks to the information gathered in these reports.”

Ms Parke said Journeys Home is the first large-scale study of its type in Australia and follows the lives of more than 1600 Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Extending Journey’s Home for another year will further develop our understanding of what differentiates people who have been able to move out of homelessness from those who have not,” Ms Parke said.

“The National Homelessness Research Agenda covers the full range of issues associated with homelessness.

“It lays the foundation for developing an effective and holistic approach to helping people break the cycle of homelessness.

“The outcomes of this research have been valuable to date in enabling us to determine the effectiveness of different intervention approaches, so we can direct our funding to the most effective programs.

“The research evaluation will assess the quality of the research undertaken, identify gaps and emerging areas of research, and consider how any future research might be conducted.”

The initial phase of the research evaluation will include broad consultation with key stakeholders, including homelessness research organisations, universities and sector peak bodies. Stakeholders will be consulted on the structure of the research evaluation so that there is a broad consensus on its scope.

A tender for the evaluation will then be sought in the middle of this year, to be completed before the end of the year.

Due to its long-term nature, Journeys Home will be evaluated separately. De-identified Journeys Home data will be made available later this year to approved academics for their own research. Information will be available at a later date on the website of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.