The heightened risks and consequences of homelessness among individuals identifying as LGBTI compared with the general population have been well documented in studies abroad yet there has been little systematic research into comparable experiences in Australia. This exploratory research draws on a mixed methods approach using secondary data and interviews to investigate the risks, service needs and use among LGBTI individuals with recent experiences of homelessness and housing insecurity.
The research is based on a collaborative partnership with the Division of General Practice at Melbourne University and adopts an action research approach with the aim of improving the homelessness service system response.
It is funded and supported by a consortium of agencies including the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia (GALFA), Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation, Assia Altman Fund of the Australian Communities Foundation, Launch Housing, Victorian Government Department of Human Services and Bendigo Bank.
Research collaboration: Associate Professor Ruth McNair and Dr Cal Andrews University of Melbourne.
First to know, first to act: Assisting universal community service providers to identify and respond appropriately to family violence
This research explores the best ways for community service providers to identify and respond to women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness as a result of family violence, but who do not specifically identify themselves as such to service providers.
The research was funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and is a collaboration between Wesley Mission Victoria (Wesley) and Swinburne University of Technology.
The overall project objectives are;
- to understand how community service providers with non-family violence specific services can most effectively identify women and children experiencing family violence, in order to inform appropriate service delivery and support
- to inform the community service sector on program design and practice for 'first to know' services, providing effective early intervention responses to women and children seeking support as a result of family violence.
Spinney, A and Zirakbash, F (2017) First to know, first to act: Assisting universal community service providers to identify and respond appropriately to family violence, Wesley Mission Victoria and Swinburne University of Technology.
The way homelessness support services are delivered is shown to have a substantial impact on outcomes for people who have experienced homelessness, including the types of opportunities they might have in their future housing pathways.
This one-year project (2015–2016), funded by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, utilises a strengths-based ‘capabilities’ approach to: examine select models of support services for homeless persons that are long-term and based on a capability development approach; identify key examples of such models in the Australian context; and, discuss how these might be tailored for young people experiencing homelessness as well as for families and children who are homeless due to family and domestic violence.
The project identifies factors influencing successful outcomes for clients, including level of readiness, length of support, and the nature of participation clients experience within the support model. Future avenues for expanding and enhancing effective responses to housing supports in the context of family and domestic violence are explored.
Collaborators at the Brotherhood of St Laurence were Professor Shelley Mallett and Mr Michael Horn.
Children and young people are bearing the brunt of declining housing opportunities for low to moderate income families in the context of high housing costs. Yet, we know remarkably little about how large housing problems are for children and young people themselves, nor what the key risk factors for exposure to housing disadvantage are for children, young people and young adults in metropolitan and regional locations in Victoria, and Australia.
This one-year project (2015–2016) was funded by the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation. It used innovative child-focused methods to bridge this critical knowledge gap and provide an evidence base for policy and practice.
The project identified housing disadvantage locational ‘hot spots’ for children and young people in a range of family types, using customised unit record files. It examines how these are changing over time and for which ‘types’ of children and young people.
This study funded by AHURI finds that state housing departments have come a considerable way in implementing public housing-like tenancy management standards to some remote Indigenous communities.
Where NPARIH investments have taken place, this is generating some improvements in the lives of tenants. Tenancy management is beginning to be systemic rather than crisis driven and there is greater consistency in the quality of housing and housing management.
Most tenants surveyed agreed that housing and living conditions had improved and that overall things in the community are better. Those in new and refurbished housing reported being satisfied with them. Respondents understood requirements for paying rent and were keen to maintain their homes in good condition. They were aware of policies on visitors and on reporting property damage.
The most successful arrangements were those in Western Australia, where a hybrid model prevailed, with tenancy management services delivered in partnership with the community sector, and service delivery included a high level of Indigenous employment.
The Swinburne research team comprised Dr Angela Spinney.
Research collaboration: Professor Daphne Habibis, Professor Peter Phibbs and Professor Churchill.
Habibis, D., Phillips, R., Spinney, A., Phibbs, P. and Churchill, B. (2016) Reviewing changes to housing management on remote Indigenous communities, AHURI Final Report No. 271, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Melbourne, http://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/271.
The private rental sector is playing an increasingly important role in the Australian housing system, with more than one in four Australian households living in the sector.
This project uses customised ABS Census data from 2011 and estimates:
- The supply of private rental housing which was affordable and available to lower income households in 2011
- Changes in supply in the intercensal period 2006–2011
- Changes in the household demand 2006–2011
It was funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI 51018),
It is the latest in a series of four projects which have examined in detail changes in supply and demand for low-rent housing based on ABS Census data in 1996, 2001 and 2006 as well as relevant intercensal periods.
Research collaboration: Honorary A/Professor Judith Yates (University of Sydney) and Dr Maryann Wulff.
This AHURI funded project looks at the impact of funding sources on the outcomes of services for homeless Indigenous Australians. The research addressed the question;
‘What is the level of government and nongovernment direct and indirect funding of services which support Indigenous homeless people, and how does the funding mix influence service provision and outcomes?’
Case-study services were chosen to represent a range of organisation types and service provision in very different locations. They all provide services for homeless people and have mainly Indigenous Australian clients. Focus groups of key stakeholders held in Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria drew together key informants from government departments, homelessness organisations and ICOs to discuss the impact of funding mix. The combination of the fieldwork data with the AHURI Australian homelessness funding and delivery survey (Flatau, Zaretzky et al. 2016) results allowed areas of common concern and importance to emerge.
Drawing together the findings from the survey and our fieldwork revealed a notable similarity in the problems caused by the precarity and uncertainty of funding, regardless of location or type of service. These were operational inefficiency, service gaps, inability of organisations to innovate, and impacts on staff recruitment and retention.
Research collaboration: Professor Daphne Habibis (University of Tasmania).
Spinney, A., Habibis, D. and McNelis, S. (2016) Safe and sound? How funding mix affects homelessness support for Indigenous Australians, AHURI Final Report No. 272, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Melbourne, http://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/finalreports/272.
As policymakers look to new forms of housing assistance provision to meet increasing demand, what becomes clear is that new ways of examining the types and extent of housing assistance need critical to inform policy innovation.
This two-year project (2015–2016), funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI 51052, Category 1 Funding) utilises an innovative conceptualisation and quantitative examination of housing needs across diverse population groups, and all tenures.
The project develops a ‘tenure-neutral’ approach to delivering robust evidence about the longevity and depth of support needs among diverse population groups across the life course, living in ownership and rental tenures. Via qualitative analysis of views of senior policy stakeholders, insights are provided about the potential benefits and pitfalls of an individualised model of housing support to address these, such as that in NDIS or child care systems.
The project was undertaken as part of a linked research program investigating ‘Individualised Housing Assistance’, led by Professor Keith Jacobs at the University of Tasmania.
This AHURI funded-research project looked at housing affordability in Australia through the lens of a budget standard method rather than the conventional 30/40 rule. The budget standard method determines a necessary budget for living and then calculates what is left for housing costs after all other necessary spending is met. Because different household sizes have very different budget requirements, the method is much more sensitive to the housing affordability issues of different household types. Using this method the research looked at the scale of the affordability problem for all tenures generally and then for specific household types in each tenure. It then draws out the housing market and policy implications of the findings.
This AHURI funded research project researches the changing nature of home purchase for younger household over the period 1981 to 2011. The research has two major foci; (1) The degree to which younger households, particularly the cohorts aged 25–44 years have experienced a contraction in home purchase over the last 30 years and (2) the adaptive responses this generation has made to circumvent obstacles to ownership, particularly that of declining housing affordability.
It finds that despite the constraints to purchase it has held up better than expected but the adaptive responses e.g. taking on large debt deferring purchase, have long-term risks. The research is a quantitative and while completed for AHURI further work is being undertaken to update findings in light of the major declines in affordability post 2011.
This completed report funded by AHURI provides data and analysis on some of the major changes in, and major issues around, the Australian public housing system over recent decades. The public housing sector has gone through major transformations in recent decades. Its original broad roles encompassing working family affordability, urban renewal, economic development, and decentralisation have narrowed in focus to serve as a housing safety net for high needs households.
Changes in funding levels, in eligibility and allocations policy and asset management strategies have been major contributors to the recasting of the role of public housing, along with a paradigm shift in public policy from broad universalistic models of service delivery to highly targeted welfare models.
Using various quantitative data sources the report documents the nature, timing and geographical implications of these changes and draws out the potential policy and program implications for the sector.
The Swinburne research team comprised Professor Terry Burke, and Dr Lucy Groenhart.
Groenhart L and Burke T 2014 ‘What has happened to Australia’s public housing; thirty years of policy and outcomes: 1981–2011’ Australian Journal of Social Issues Vol 49 No 2 (winner of Australian Social Policy Association best paper 2014 volumes).
Private rental is Australia’s most rapidly growing housing tenure, with 1 in 3 households now living in privately rented dwellings. This project delivers a thirty-year review of key changes in the sector, including institutional settings and population demand, including a focus on those renting long term.
This two-year project (2014-2015), funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI 50683, Category 1 Funding) utilises a multi-method research design to deliver a robust, quantitative account of answers to three key questions:
- How has the private rental sector, and characteristics of private renter households within it, changed over time?
- Who rents long-term in the private rental sector (10 or more years) and how does longer-term rental feature in their housing pathways?
- How does long-term private rental relate to economic, social, health and housing outcomes, including for potentially ‘vulnerable’ households, over time?
Accessing and sustaining private rental tenancies: critical life events, housing shocks and insurances
Evidence indicates that problems associated with insecure housing can lead to failed tenancies and costly disruption both for households and governments (through the subsequent need for homelessness support interventions or entry into social housing). Although research has linked various types of life events with a range of housing-related disadvantage, systematic and holistic accounts of the types of life events that can undermine the capacity of tenants to manage private rental tenancies have been limited.
This two-year project (2014–2015), funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI 50683, Category 1 Funding) utilises a multi-method research design to assess whether targeted or integrated housing support for low to moderate-income private rental tenants at key transition points was likely to enhance their capacity to sustain tenancies and deter entry or re-entry to social housing or homelessness.
The Final Report from the research presents:
- a conceptual framework linking critical life events (CLEs), housing shocks and insurances as a means of understanding tenant vulnerabilities in the context of the contemporary PRS, and delivers a profile of the incidence of CLEs and the resources available to households to manage them
- analysis of the voices, views and perceptions of 76 low to moderate-income tenants living in three metropolitan sub-markets about key aspects of their housing experiences including housing insecurity, discrimination, financial management and mobility, in an interrogation of risks and support needs
- an account of practitioner perspectives on the emerging types of support required by tenants to retain private rental housing successfully in a highly pressured housing market.
Collaborators are Dr Ilan Wiesel (formerly at UNSW) and Dr Sanna Markannen and Dr Amity James, Curtin University.