Homelessness is a prevailing issue in contemporary Australian society and yet little is known about the social and economic costs to the individual and to the community. The purpose of The National Homelessness Study is to collect information which will assist understanding of the effect of a period of homelessness on other aspects of a person’s life, such as employment, mental health and substance use, and to examine outcomes for people who receive assistance to prevent homelessness. The study will work with agencies in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide that deliver services to assist people at risk of homelessness and their clients. Services include, but are not limited to, assistance maintaining an existing tenancy, crisis and transitional accommodation, brokerage, and assistance in accessing services required to support income, health, employment and education requirements.
The overarching aim of the study is to estimate the cost effectiveness to government of providing services to prevent a period of homelessness. The whole of government cost include both: 1) the cost of preventing a period of homelessness and 2) the potentially offsetting change in government expenditure in non-homelessness services, such as health and justice, as a result of preventing a period of homelessness.
This will be achieved by:
- Assessment of the cost to government of providing services to assist people at risk of homelessness
- Estimating the impact of homelessness on use of health, justice, income support and welfare services
- Assessing the potential cost to government in the areas of health, justice, income support and welfare services of not undertaking homelessness prevention programs
- Investigating the potential to use linked administrative homelessness, health, justice, income and welfare support data to quantify the costs of homelessness and the costs and benefits of homelessness program assistance
- Literature and policy review
- Qualitative and quantitative survey administered with clients of homelessness prevention services
- Quantitative survey administered with managers of Agencies which operate homelessness prevention services
- Analysis of survey data using descriptive statistics and multivariate statistical methods
- Examination and analysis of the properties of homelessness and non-homelessness administrative data collections
- Interviews with administrative data collection managers
Extracted from AHURI Report No. 205: The cost of homelessness and the net benefit of homelessness programs: a national study - Findings from the Baseline Client Survey
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute report: No. 205: The cost of homelessness and the net benefit of homelessness programs: a national study – Findings from the Baseline Client Survey.