If you would like to have a document added, please email it to the Western Homelessness Networker:

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:

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

If you have any queries please contact Paula Robinson on 9096 8290 or

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:

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:,%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 ( 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:

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 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:

6th November 2015
  by Family Planning Queensland

A guide to reponding to sexual behaviours in children and young people.

Download here (2557kb)
Entries and exits from homelessness: a dynamic analysis of the relationship between structural condi
16th October 2015
  by AHURI: Guy Johnson et al

This research project examines how housing and labour markets, social deprivation and other area-level factors interact with individual risk factors to influence housing instability. It provides new insight into ways to prevent homelessness and help vulnerable households remain housed.

The study utilised micro-level longitudinal data from Journeys Home (JH) and housing market data from the 2011 Census to econometrically model the probability of being homeless as well as the probability of entry and exit from homelessness.

It found that men are prone to higher rates of homelessness both because they are more likely to fall into homelessness, as well as less likely to escape homelessness.

Long-term ill-health also predisposes people to homelessness, but diagnosis of mental health reduces likelihood of homelessness, possibly because diagnosis means people are more likely to receive assistance relative to those undiagnosed.

As expected, risky behaviour (drinking, smoking and drug use) raises the chances of entering homelessness, as does a previous spells of homelessness. Such people are at higher risk of becoming and remaining homeless irrespective of the condition of local housing and labour markets.

However, for individuals without behavioural issues, the risk of becoming and remaining homeless is more closely tied to the condition of local housing and labour markets. The chance of becoming homeless is greater in regions with higher median rents and slack labour markets.

Although individuals married or in a de facto relationship are less likely to enter homelessness, if they do become homeless there is a significantly lower likelihood of escape as compared to singles.

Exiting homelessness is much more likely for some groups than others, with younger people exiting more easily than older people. Current employment status does seem to be related to exits with some connection to the labour market better than none.

Link to document:

Measuring the difference we make: The state-of-play of outcomes measurement in the community sector
11th October 2015
  by The University of Western Australia Centre for Social Impact

The term ‘outcomes measurement’ refers to the measurement of the difference that an initiative, program or organisation makes to the lives of people they engage with. Outcomes measurement provides evidence on whether initiatives, programs and organisations are making a difference to the lives of people they serve. It is an important basis of learning within organisations of what works and what doesn’t work. Outcomes measurement also provides the foundation stone for evaluation, strategic planning and good governance, and is critical to good decision-making in respect of the appropriate allocation of resources by funders.

This study finds outcomes measurement at a tipping point in Western Australia. Our mapping of outcomes measurement in Western Australia and consultations with community sector stakeholders in Western Australia suggest not simply a growing interest in outcomes measurement and a broad appetite for progress and change, but that community sector organisations, big and small, as well as funders, are implementing or seeking to implement a systematic, well-grounded outcomes measurement framework in their organisations and through their funding programs. Community organisations and the funders of programs are also moving towards more strategic use of the outputs of outcomes measurement and connecting measurement with strategy and performance improvement.

Download here (2622kb)
Map of services in Yarra
9th October 2015
  by Yarra Mental Health Alliance

The Yarra Mental Health Alliance have provided the attached outline and map of community services in the City of Yarra.

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23 Orientation to the Homelessness Service System
23 Orientation to the Homelessness Service System