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If you would like to have a document added, please email it to the Western Homelessness Networker:  sarah@wombat.org.au

Homeless Monitor
5th November 2018
  by Launch Housing

In May 2018, Launch Housing released the Australian Homelessness Monitor 2018 (the Monitor), the first national independent longitudinal study that explains the complexities, rates, types and causes of homelessness.

It was revealed the main reasons for seeking assistance are changing. Housing crisis is now the top reason, followed by those who reported domestic violence as a factor. 

Launch Housing commissioned the Monitor with the University of NSW Sydney and the University of Queensland. It will inform state and federal policies to address homelessness.

Click below for a summary of the report. The full report can be found at: https://www.launchhousing.org.au/site/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/LaunchHousing_AHM2018_Report.pdf

Download here (1356kb)
Amplify Insights: Housing affordability and homelessness
5th November 2018
  by Centre for Social Impact

This report is about homelessness, considered in the context of our wider housing, service, and social system.

Homelessness is an urgent and growing problem. Currently, homelessness as an end point gets significant attention from governments and the specialist services working in the sector. To properly address homelessness, however, problems throughout our communities that push
people into housing insecurity need to be identified and addressed. Non‐profits, government, businesses, and residents of Australia all have influence over the housing system that affects the accessibility, affordability, safety, and appropriateness of housing. Therefore, we all have a role to play to address homelessness.

This report assembles the evidence, from official statistics, academic research, and other publicly available information about the lived experience of homelessness and housing
affordability in Australia. It aims to build on previous work by bringing together the evidence, amplifying the insights into housing affordability and homelessness challenges in Australia and the range of possibilities available to us to reduce homelessness. The vignettes throughout this report are hypothetical, unless otherwise cited. This report is one part of the Centre for Social Impact’s response to homelessness, via its Amplify Social Impact project. It is meant to establish a foundation for broader engagement with stakeholders so that we can all contribute to the reduction of homelessness.

The report is structured in five chapters:
1. Homelessness: What is the problem?
2. Beyond the numbers: Why does having a home matter?
3. Responding to homelessness by addressing problems across the housing continuum
4. Addressing wicked problems: Homelessness and housing affordability strategies
5. Conclusion & Call to Action

Link to document: http://apo.org.au/system/files/198891/apo-nid198891-1036526.pdf

Tap turners and game changers
11th October 2018
  by Transforming Housing, School of Design, University of Melbourne

This report is a sequel to a 2015 analysis of affordable housing systems (partnerships, policies and outcomes) in three comparable cities to Melbourne – Vancouver and Toronto, Canada and Portland, US. Three years after the initial report, divergence in affordable housing trajectories has intensified:


» Vancouver has created the most social and affordable housing, both new construction and renewed
stock, in the past three years: about 15 times as much per capita as Melbourne, with equally limited federal government support until the past year. Local and provincial government, investors, and non-profit developers have developed six integrated ‘game-changers’, which together are increasing capacity to scale up a viable non-speculative housing sector. Although outcomes are not yet meeting the needs of low and moderate income households, they show promise of growing suitable supportive, social and rental housing to the point where ‘affordable housing for all’ is more than a meaningless slogan.


» Portland has been able to scale up affordable housing for very low income residents, through imaginative use of new funding mechanisms. Housing affordability is better than the other cities in this study, although may primarily be due to unintentional and lasting impacts of the Global Financial Crisis, rather than local regulatory steering. In this report, we will be referring to four integrated tap turners that have increased capacity.


» Toronto has been unsuccessful in developing new social housing, and has lost considerable social housing, because of very poor leadership from local and provincial government.

The report concludes with 10 lessons for the Victorian State Government (and local and federal governments, private developers, non-profit housing providers, investors and researchers) in three categories: evidence base, mechanisms, and partnerships.

Download here (1894kb)
Hearts and homes: Public perceptions of homelessness summary report
11th October 2018
  by Victorian Government

The Victorian Government commissioned a study of Victorians' attitudes to homelessness. The attached report is a summary of this study.

The key findings were:

• Victorians care deeply about the welfare of those who are experiencing homelessness. A majority of those surveyed want to, and do, give help.

• Victorians are more likely to attribute personal issues such as drug and alcohol use as the reason why people are experiencing homelessness. They generally have a lesser understanding of key systemic causes, such as the availability of social housing.

• A majority of people think short-term interventions like food, blankets and clothing are the most necessary help. They are less aware of the critical need for housing and health supports.

• People are unsure of the role government and business can play to solve homelessness.

Download here (6326kb)
Diversity and complexity: Examining the characteristics of at risk and homeless households
9th August 2018
  by Guy Johnson and Juliet Watson

Unison launched this report today to mark Homelessness Week. The report provides an analysis of the learnings from the data collection in the Launch Housing Initial Assessment and Planning services in Seddon and Werribee.

The report focusses on the characteristics of the 2,933 households assisted in 2016/17. Consumers assisted in the service were born in 109 different countries and for the vast majority, only presented for one period of support during 2016.17.

The data showed that about two thirds of those assisted were currently experiencing homelessness, whilst about a quarter were at risk of homelessness.

Link to document: http://www.unison.org.au/cms_uploads/docs/6075--unison--rmit-research-report-no-1--diversity-and-complexity-(web-ready).pdf

The Private Rooming House Closure Protocol
16th December 2017
  by Department Health and Human Services

 

The Private rooming house closure protocol (protocol) has been revised in consultation with homelessness providers, local areas, Melbourne City Council and Consumer Affairs Victoria.  

 The protocol has been updated to also reference The Rooming House Operators Act 2016, which has been has been passed by the Victorian Parliament and is anticipated to be implemented early 2017.

The Rooming House Operators Act 2016 sets out the ‘licence disqualification criteria’, which will apply to existing and new rooming house operators. All rooming house operators other than registered housing associations and housing providers are required to be licensed under the Rooming House Operators Act 2016.

A rooming house operator, manager and their officer will meet this criterion if they:

·        have in the last ten years been convicted or found guilty by a court of certain criminal offences

·        are bankrupt, insolvent or lack legal capacity

·        have in the last five years been declared by a court to have contravened certain legal obligations, particularly in relation to rooming houses.

The introduction of the Rooming House Operators Act 2016 has the potential to result in the closure of some private rooming houses.

Can you please inform local councils and homelessness providers and other relevant services in your local area that an electronic copy of Private Rooming House Closure Protocol 2016 can be downloaded from the DHHS website

http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-service-providers/housing-and-homelessness/homelessness/rooming-houses/rooming-house-reform/_nocache

If you have any queries please contact Paula Robinson on 9096 8290 or paula.robinson@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Link to document:

Through My Eyes: Workbook for children experiencing homelessness
24th May 2017
  by Children's Resource Program

A core function of the statewide Children’s Resource Program is to develop resources for children who are experiencing homelessness and family violence. This year we have developed a booklet that aims to provide children with helpful information and options for them to express their feelings and emotions.

The booklet has been designed, illustrated, and prepared to be available for agencies as a PDF to print for each child accessing your service. We hope that this will encourage meaningful conversation, healing and fun for all ages. If you require any assistance with printing or further information please feel free to contact myself or Luisa.

Please Note: When printing flip on the short edge

Download here (1557kb)
Victorian Housing Register: Frequently Asked Questions
24th May 2017
  by Department of Health and Human Services

 Attached is a frequently asked questions document about the Victorian Housing Register, for agency staff. 

The Impact of Self-Categorizing as “Homeless” on Well-Being and Service Use
24th May 2017
  by Zoe C. Walter, Jolanda Jetten, Cameron Parsell, Genevieve A. Dingle

Gaining entry to homeless services typically requires individuals to self-identify as homeless, however, this label may be at odds with how individuals see themselves. Furthermore, because of the considerable stigma attached to homelessness, individuals’ self-categorization has potentially important implications for their well-being and for whether they engage with homeless services in order to obtain housing and psychosocial outcomes. We examined this question qualitatively and quantitatively with an Australian sample of 114 residents of homeless accommodation centers. Results showed that self-categorization as “homeless” was accepted by 55% of respondents and rejected by 31%. Fourteen percent of participants expressed ambivalence about self-categorizing as homeless. Respondents who rejected the “homeless” label reported greater personal well-being and lower negative mood symptoms than people who accepted the label, independent of the duration of their homelessness. Self-categorization was not, however, related to service use. We conclude that an understanding of how individuals self-categorize and negotiate externally imposed labels is an important factor in explaining their well-being while in homeless accommodation services. Implications for public policy and service providers are discussed.

Link to document: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/asap.12089/abstract

Housing Affordability Index 2017
31st January 2017
  by Demographia

Demographia has been publishing an International Housing Affordability Index since 2015.

In his introduction to the 2017 survey Oliver Hartwich Executive Director, The New Zealand Initiative, identifies that it is extremely difficult to find a workable international index:

"Demographia’s ‘median multiple’ approach closed this gap. It firmly established a benchmark for housing affordability by linking median house prices to median household incomes. It is as simple as it is ingenious. And it is probably the index I have cited most often in my career. The ‘median multiple’ is not a perfect measure because it does not account for house sizes or build quality. But it is the only index that allows a quick comparison of different housing markets, and it is the best approximation of housing affordability measures we have to date.We need to tackle housing affordability urgently because the effects of unaffordable housing on society are becoming more visible by the day. Policies that raise housing costs are always likely to hit those on low incomes the hardest. Thus in our work on different measures of poverty and inequality, we have argued that the best way to tackle both issues would be to make housing more affordable.

See the article about the report at: http://www.nwhn.net.au/news_details.aspx?newsID=4731&starting_record=0&category=Reports,%20Papers%20and%20Research&year=[ALL]

Download here (2005kb)
Report of the Federal Housing Taskforce 2016
19th December 2016

In 2016 the Federal Government established an Affordable Housing Working Group to
investigate innovative financing models aimed at improving the supply of affordable housing.

Unfortunately the scope of the Group was reduced to consideration of models that attract private and institutional investment at scale into affordable housing and to report back to Heads of Treasuries on its findings and recommended. 

Attached is the report of the Working Group.

Link to document:

The financing, delivery and effectiveness of programs to reduce homelessness Inquiry into funding an
25th November 2016
  by AHURI

This report is one of three reports to be released as part of an AHURI Inquiry into the funding and delivery of programs to reduce homelessness. It provides evidence from the Australian Homelessness Funding and Delivery Survey of how services supporting those experiencing homelessness are funded and how different forms of funding and the level of funding impacts on the delivery of homelessness assistance. 

Current levels of funding are estimated to be below levels required to meet client demand on homelessness services. Outcomes perceived as most constrained by the current level and mix of funding are client employment and access to permanent housing. 
Key areas for policy development recommended in the study include greater certainty around future government funding of homelessness services; supportive measures to increase the level of non-government funding including an expansion of philanthropic giving, sponsorship and donations, social enterprise funding options, crowd funding, the development of impact investment opportunities; and addressing the significant concerns reported by services with respect to the costs of funding diversification. 

Download here (1824kb)
Transforming Housing submission to Infrastructure Victoria
6th November 2016
  by Transforming Housing

Since 2013, the Transforming Housing project (https://msd.unimelb.edu.au/transforming-housing-affordable-housing-all) has brought together affordable housing researchers at the University of Melbourne with state and local government, private and non-profit housing developers, private and philanthropic funders, and other experts to work together on improving the quantity and quality of well-located affordable housing in Metropolitan Melbourne.

Attached is a submission to the Infrastructure Victoria's 30 year strategy consultation. 

Download here (1296kb)
Security in retirement: the impact of housing and critical life events
17th October 2016
  by Swinburne Institute for Social Research

This research examines the wealth holdings of men and women at midlife (40–64 years old) and those who have recently retired, and the impact of some key life events in shaping that wealth. Approaching retirement and retirement itself can be a stressful and insecure time if the resources are not available for achieving a modest lifestyle in retirement.

Key findings:

  • An increasing number of older people in Australia are experiencing housing insecurity and impoverishment in retirement. Overwhelmingly these are lone person households living in private rental.
     
  •  A large number of Australians are unable to accumulate savings for retirement; lone person or couple households living in private rental at the age of 45–49 years are likely to be private renters in retirement.
     
  • Nationally, there are close to 426,000 individuals over the age of 50 years living alone or with a partner in private rental. Population projections suggest there will be 606,340 over 50 year old renters in 2030 and in 2050 832,319.
     
  •  While community concern has focused on the unprecedented number of older women requiring housing assistance, between the ages of 50 and 70 years there are twice as many males than females. Over 70 years of age the reverse is true.

  •  Men and women have distinctly gendered pathways into rental poverty in older age. For women it is the cost of care and the gender wage gap, for men it reflects low educational attainment, low income and disability. The housing market itself is a source of impoverishment for both genders.
     
  •  Critical life events such as marital breakdown and redundancy, which disrupt the normal routines of life and often household income, can have major impacts on wealth and in many cases on the ability to hang on to home ownership. This is particularly the case for women. Men however who move from couple to single relationship status are more likely to also move from outright ownership or purchasing to private rental.

Download here (1968kb)
Engaging young people Using the pathways young people take in and out of homelessness as the founda
29th May 2016
  by Guy Johnson, Kay Cook and Sandra Sesa, RMIT

The report examines how young people make first contact with the homelessness service system, and what their experiences of that system are like. The report addresses:
1. What pathways do young people take into the homelessness service system?
2. What are young peoples’ service histories and experiences?
3. What service offerings most effectively facilitate positive outcomes for young people, including preventing homelessness?
4. What is the capacity for the service system to take family context and connection into account when addressing homelessness?

The report draws on 45 in-depth interviews with people aged between 16 and 24, and then follow up interviews with 26 of the original participants six months later. Of the 45 people we interviewed, most were single, one quarter had been in State out-of-home care, nearly two thirds had received treatment for mental health issues and over a third reported problematic substance use.

The 45 participants’ experiences of home and family were diverse, and we identify four pathways into homelessness. Each pathway can be regarded as existing on a continuum with Independents at one end, with less complex issues and a more recent history of homelessness; and Escapers at the other end, who often have lengthy histories of homelessness and interactions with assistive service systems, more complex needs involving significant mental health and substance misuse issues, and lengthy periods of child abuse, neglect and trauma. Between these two poles sit those who experienced Cultural Conflict and also the Dissenters. Each pathway shows that young people enter the homelessness service system with different experiences of family and of the support available to them.

The report identifies that the focus of services on resolving presenting issues is, in the context of a resource scarce environment, understandable, an unintended consequence can be the creation of a ‘deficit’ based service culture. In our view more attention and resources should be directed towards CREATING A PERSON-CENTRED SERVICE CULTURE that works with young people in ways that enable them to focus on, and ultimately achieve their aspirations. A focus on young people’s hopes and aspirations, on their futures, tempered by an understanding of their pathways into homelessness, strikes us as the most promising way of establishing positive and meaningful relationships, and securing sustainable pathways out of homelessness and into mainstream social and economic life.    

Disability Advocacy, Support and Information Services
7th March 2016
  by VAILD

Attached is a very comprehensive list of disability advoacy, support and information services.

Home & Away: Child and Youth Homelessness report
6th March 2016
  by Mission Australia

Up to one in seven young people could be at risk of homelessness, pointing to the need for more early intervention services to address their issues before they become homeless.

Mission Australia’s Home & Away: Child and Youth Homelessness report used data collected as part of the 2015 Youth Survey to look at a number of factors which may make a young person vulnerable to homelessness, including any time spent away from the family home due to feeling unable to return, family’s ability to get along and frequency of moving residence.

The report surveyed a diverse cross section of young people from all states and territories and from all walks of life, through independent and government schools, online respondents as well as Mission Australia youth services. The report found that of the 19,000 15-19 year olds surveyed, 13.5% or 1 in 7 young people spent time away from home in the last three years because they felt they couldn’t go back.

Of these young people, around 85% spent time away from home on more than one occasion, with around a quarter having spent time away from home more than 10 times. 8% of these young people were away from home for longer than six months.

- See more at: https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/content/item/664-one-in-seven-young-people-at-the-risk-of-homelessness?mc_cid=f45ec4f1ed&mc_eid=55eed1f295#sthash.S47BlLq2.dpuf

Making Links: Phase One Report
6th March 2016
  by Making Links Steering Group

This report documents the first phase of a collaborative project between the AOD, Mental Health and Homelessness Sectors in Melbourne's north and west.

The three sectors are working together on improved responses to shared clients. 

Download here (3894kb)
Lifecourse institutional costs of homelessness for vulnerable groups
2nd February 2016
  by School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales

There is a dearth of empirical research in Australia examining the lifecourse institutional costs associated with vulnerable people who are homeless. Evidence has been mounting that vulnerable groups, in particular persons with mental health disorders and cognitive disability (MHDCD) who experience clusters of disadvantageous circumstances, are over-represented amongst those coming to the attention of police and being serially arrested and incarcerated. People in these groups are more likely to use alcohol and other drugs and be homeless or marginally housed. Persons in this group are often caught in a vicious criminal justice cycle (Baldry et al 2006) with the costs to the person and the community estimated to be very high (Burt 2003; Edwards et al 2009; Flatau et al 2008; Gulcur et al 2003; Mental Health Coordinating Council 2008). But there has been little empirical pathway costing done. This study takes an empirical approach to calculating the economic costs of the pathways of eleven individuals who have cycled in and out of homelessness, using the MHDCD Dataset containing their interactions with housing, health, community services and criminal justice agencies. 

Download here (1040kb)
Resource Register Manual
14th January 2016
  by Department of Health and Human Services

This Manual provides guidelines to homelessness funded agencies for use of the Statewide Resource Register.

Download here (1271kb)
Quick guide to the Resource Register
14th January 2016
  by Department of Health and Human Services

This sheet provides a one page reference guide to the use of the Statewide Homelessness Resource Register.

Resource Register Support Pack
14th January 2016
  by Department of Health and Human Services

This pack includes help sheets about various aspects of using the Statewide Homelessness Resource Register.

Creating a prioritisation profile in SHIP
14th January 2016
  by Department of Health and Human Services

This document provides step by step instructions to using the prioritisation profile in SHIP. The profile is used primarily by Access Point Services to hold the Prioritisation List, but also by agencies undertaking Interim Response 2, to help them identify their IR 2 clients.

Download here (1632kb)
NALSN and WLASN Documents Guiding Practice
14th January 2016
  by Western Homelessness Network Coordinator

This document provides a list of key documents guiding homelessness practice, with links to those documents.

Accessing the homelessness service system
23rd December 2015
  by Western Homelessness Network Coordinator

The attached pamphlet outlines access arrangements for the homelessness service system in Melbourne's north and west.

Pushed to the Edge: Private rental (un)affordability in Melbourne
18th December 2015
  by Tenants Union of Victoria

This report examines the renting situation for low income households in Melbourne. The report looked at all private rental properties advertised on June 23rd to give a snapshot into the rental market for low income households.

TUV’s Melbourne Rental Affordability Bulletin illustrates the parlous nature of renting in Melbourne for low-income households and it is abundantly clear that there remains a situation of critical unaffordability across much of metropolitan region. To supplement this, TUV set out to sketch a clearer picture of the actual conditions faced by low-income households looking for housing by trawling through the 16 331 advertised properties on realestate.com.au on 23 June, 2015. The research found a severe lack of affordable and appropriate housing available to low-income households

Pamphlet: Information on Mental Health Community Support Services
18th December 2015
  by Mental Health Area Planner

The attached pamphlet outlines access to mental health community support services in Melbourne's north and west.

Victoria's 10 Year Mental Health Plan
18th December 2015
  by Department of Health and Human Services

The Victorian Government has launched a new plan to guide investment and drive better mental health outcomes for Victorians.

"Victoria's 10-year mental health plan sets an ambitious, long-term vision for the next decade, including:

  • better mental health and wellbeing
  • reducing the prevalence of mental illness
  • reducing suicide rates
  • better access to high-quality services
  • more choice about treatment options, rehabilitation and support.

More than 1000 Victorians have been involved in development of the plan, including people with a mental illness, their families and carers, service providers, clinicians, workers, experts and community members.

Recognising that nearly half of all Victorians (45 per cent) will experience mental illness in their lifetime, the plan focuses on greater efforts in prevention, and providing better integrated services and support for the most vulnerable people in the community."

 

Pamphlet: Information on AOD services
17th December 2015
  by Odyssey/UnitingCare/Re Gen

The attached pamphlet outlines access to alcohol and other drug services in Melbourne's north and west.

Download here (5280kb)
The cost effectiveness of Australian tenancy support programs for formerly homeless people
19th November 2015
  by AHURI

The cost effectiveness of Australian tenancy support programs for formerly homeless people
This report provides an Australia-wide review of National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) programs which assist clients to access and maintain a social housing tenancy or support existing social housing tenants at risk of homelessness maintain their tenancies.

Link to document: http://www.ahuri.edu.au/publications/download/ahuri_82028_fr

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Events

2018November
19 16 days Activist Challenge
20 Brimbank: Working Alongside Families Where A Parent Is Experiencing Mental Health Challenges (Half-Day Workshop)
2018December
7 Final Northern and Western LASNs for 2018