Study provides deeper insight into homelessness

Males, older and Indigenous people and those who had been in institutional care are more vulnerable to being homeless than other groups according to a Melbourne Institute report on homelessness issued by the Minister for Housing and Homelessness today.

This finding is contained within the “Wave 2” results from Journeys Home: Longitudinal Study of Factors Affecting Housing Stability, a two year study that, for the first time, follows the lives of more than 1600 Australians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The most common reason for first becoming homeless was family breakdown and conflict (62 per cent). (Wave 1)

Other findings in the report are that family and friends do not appear to protect respondents from homelessness, but could represent a support in exiting homelessness.

The report also identified welfare services as an important source of support to those continuously homeless who are not able to turn to family and friends to help with personal and financial problems.

However, many respondents experiencing homelessness also declare that welfare services are very unhelpful and some of those who exited homelessness complained about their accessibility.

Commenting to B&E, Minister for Housing and Homelessness Mark Butler underlined another finding in the report “the vicious cycle in and out of homelessness is a strong theme of this study but we’re pleased to see an overall drop in homelessness of 3.7% for this group,” Mr Butler said.

Mr Butler said the study would give the Government a better understanding of the causes of homelessness and its effects.  “The ongoing study is designed to help steer the Government’s homelessness policies and there are some valuable lessons to be learned from this study.”

[pullquote]“This is the first large-scale longitudinal study of its type in Australia. By following the same group of people over time, it will help us understand what differentiates people who are able to move out of homelessness from those who are not.” Minister Butler [/pullquote]

Journeys Home is a study in four waves that aims to determine the factors that contribute to homelessness. Managed by the Melbourne Institute  the study is due to finish in mid-2013.

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