Media Release by The Hon Melissa Parke MP

Research confirms homelessness is more than a lack of housing

New research shows homelessness is a complex and multi-faceted issue that goes far beyond a lack of housing, and can only be successfully addressed through ongoing, holistic and targeted support.

Parliamentary Secretary for Homelessness and Social Housing, Melissa Parke released four homelessness research papers that again reinforce our understanding of homelessness issues and their linkage to a wide variety of factors.

  • Precarious social inclusion: chronic homelessness and impaired decision-making capacity looks at the complex range of issues faced by people who have complex needs and are homeless
  • Homelessness and unemployment: understanding the connection and breaking the cycle looks at the interrelation of homelessness and unemployment
  • Understanding homelessness service transitions between community and clinical sectors looks at the experiences and needs of young people with psychiatric conditions
  • Integrating employment and housing support for homeless people looks at the effectiveness of specialist homelessness services

“These reports reinforce how complex the causes of homelessness are,” Ms Parke said.

“The research highlights the importance of being flexible with the way we provide support to address people’s individual needs.

“The provision of appropriate housing is critical, but other services and support mechanisms are needed too.

“We must provide caring and respectful support in the areas of physical and psychological health, training and education, employment, and family and relationship issues.

“Linkages between specialist homelessness services, employment services and other community support services are essential to helping people to take control of their own lives.

“Innovative housing models are increasingly relevant in dealing with homelessness-the Housing First approach emerges as an important recommendation from this research, supporting rapid access to permanent, supported housing for chronically homeless people.”

Ms Parke said this holistic, coordinated approach to support people out of homelessness and prevent homelessness in the first place was an integral part of government policy.

“This Government has made homelessness a national priority, and we remain committed to halving homelessness by 2020,” Ms Parke said.

“We have invested an unprecedented $26 billion in affordable housing and associated support services since 2007.

“The Australian Government is providing $550 million to the states and territories to deliver more than 180 initiatives to reduce and prevent homelessness.

“This money is being provided under the current National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.

“We have committed $159 million to service delivery, capital project and research in 2013-14, so states and territories can continue to provide critical services while we negotiate a longer-term agreement.

“South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania have signed onto the transitional agreement, and I look forward to hearing back from the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland on their funding commitment.”

The research papers are available at: