National Homelessness Research Agenda Presentation


  • Through significant funding and a personal commitment from the Prime Minister, the Australian Government is determined to reduce homelessness.
  • It is not an issue to be "fixed" by government alone. Ending homelessness requires long-term, sustained effort from government, business, the third sector and the community.

The White Paper vision

  • The White Paper has set the ambitious goal of halving homelessness by 2020 and to provide supported accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it:
    • we need to ensure we can measure progress towards the target - including assessing progress towards the interim targets set for 2013.
  • A long-term research agenda is required to improve the evidence base to build better responses to homelessness.  

Why do we need an Agenda?

  • Articulate national priorities for strengthening the evidence base to inform policy and practice 
  • Guide research funding priorities
  • Ensure research $ are well targeted and complements and/or builds on existing research
  • Ensure quality and support a broader network of researchers are focused on national priorities for homelessness research

The Agenda is not intended to replace the research efforts of States and Territories or other agencies

How was it developed?

  • Research gaps were identified through:
    • Literature reviews
    • Researchers' roundtable
    • Responses to the Green Paper Which Way Home and theWhite Paper and
    • Consultation on the draft Research Agenda
  • Also highlighted was the need:
    • for greater collaboration between the research community and government to improve policy relevance
    • for new ideas and new researchers in the field
    • to raise the profile of homelessness research

Where are the Gaps?

  • Existing research on Homelessness has largely been qualitative, small-scale and sub-group specific
  • Lack of longitudinal studies and quantitative data - requires better measurement, datasets and methodologies for calculating numbers
  • Need for assessment of service system capacity, responsiveness, planning and delivery - particularly for clients with complex needs
  • Studies of the impacts of early intervention, sustaining social integration and building resilience
  • Research into the life-long consequences of homelessness
  • Increased understanding of the issues surrounding rural and regional homelessness (non-urban)

Research Priorites

The National Homelessness Research Framework has three core priorities:

  • Inform & improve the service system and practice including evaluation
  • Increase our understanding of homelessness
  • Improve data & measurement of homelessness

Improve data and measurement of homelessness

Major new data development projects outside the scope of the Agenda are in place:

  • AIHW, the Department and States/Territories working on the new homelessness data collection
  • the States and Territories are developing processes to capture data of outputs under the Implementation Plans 
  • Introduction of a Centrelink 'homelessness flag'- potential as a proxy to improve intercensal counts
  • ABS review of the methodology of the ABS/AIHW 'Counting the Homeless' (AIHW & the Department)

Improve data and measurement of homelessness: Agenda priorities

  • Early indicators of progress
  • Data linkage
  • Better definitions and shared measures of 'homelessness' and 'at risk of homelessness'
  • Identifying and measuring outcomes
  • Maximising the use of existing data
  • Longitudinal data

Inform and improve the service system and practice, including evaluation

  • Assess the effectiveness of interventions (including mainstream services)
  • Studies to improve service practice
  • Understanding pathways through services and identifying gaps and overlaps
  • Identifying the role of economic participation, education and training and community networks
  • Measuring short and long term outcomes for homeless people
  • Sustainability and exit points into stable accommodation

Increase understanding of homelessness

  • Identifying the risks and causes of homelessness
  • Understanding how to prevent homelessness through prevention and early intervention 
  • Identifying resilience and protective factors
  • Lifelong outcomes and intergenerational consequences
  • Policy relevant economic analyses
  • Build on existing knowledge and contribute to social inclusion

Implementing the Agenda

  • The National Homelessness Research Partnership Agreements are a top down approach consisting of a limited number of substantial multi year partnerships delivering an agreed program of research
  • The National Homelessness Research Projects are a bottom up approach to give the capacity to respond to emerging priorities, encourage innovation and leverage external funding
  • Scoping of longitudinal data development
  • Evaluation of the White Paper

Implementation Priorities

  • Balancing the spread of projects across multi-site and multi-jurisdictional areas and targeting of different disadvantaged groups and geographical areas
  • Commissioning of research and the process of investing in research will be transparent
  • The research will be widely shared and disseminated
  • Research will be conducted within agreed timelines
  • Research investments will be based on value for money and relevance
  • Research investments will emphasize collaboration and partnerships that leverage new resources, networks and skills

Applying for funding

  • Applications for funding for Partnership Agreements and Research Projects opened 21 November 2009
    • Closing date 13 January 2010
    • Application packs are available

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