Media Release by The Hon Melissa Parke MP

Shining a light on the homelessness challenge in Brisbane and Sydney

Research released today on initiatives to tackle homelessness in Brisbane and Sydney sheds a light on some of the struggles faced by people who are homeless.

Undertaken by the University of Queensland, and funded by the Australian Government under the National Homelessness Research Agenda, the research provides baseline information on participants of two important programs-Brisbane’s Street to Home and Sydney’s Way2Home programs.

Parliamentary Secretary for Homelessness and Social Housing Melissa Parke said the research shows clear evidence of widespread social and economic disadvantage among the participants, with Indigenous people, women, and older people being most at risk.

“All the participants were unemployed and chronically homeless and many had been living in and out of homelessness for years,” Ms Parke said.

“They suffered poorer health than the Australian average, and were more likely to present at the emergency department of a hospital.”

“Many were under severe psychological distress, and faced mental health and substance abuse issues.”

“But it’s heartening to see that the vast majority of participants had experienced positive changes in their lives as a result of the Street to Home and Way2Home programs, particularly around their housing situation.”

Ms Parke said this research would provide a reference point to help determine the success of Street to Home and Way2Home, with participants to be surveyed again after 12 months.

“Street to Home and Way2Home take a holistic approach to helping some of Brisbane and Sydney’s most vulnerable people to break the cycle of homelessness once and for all,” Ms Parke said.

“They are helping highly vulnerable people into long-term affordable housing, and providing ongoing support to tackle their health issues, connect with education and work opportunities, and reconnect with their families, friends and community.

“This is critical support to help participants get their lives back on track, and exit the cycle of homelessness for good.

“The findings of this research reinforce the need to take a holistic approach to tackling homelessness.”

“Having this early data will help make sure the programs continue to meet the specific and complex needs of the people they help, as well as evaluating their success in tackling homelessness for participants in the long term.”

Ms Parke said the Australian Government continues to make homelessness a high national priority.

“We remain committed to halving the rate of homelessness by 2020-because without a secure home, people struggle to find and keep jobs or stay in training or education.

“We have invested an unprecedented $20 billion in housing and homelessness services and programs since 2007-including $5 billion in additional funding in homelessness.

“This government believes all Australians deserve a safe, secure home, and we will keep working to provide affordable housing for Australia’s most vulnerable people.”

To view the report, go to