Journeys Home – A longitudinal study of factors affecting housing stability

Journeys Home aims to improve the understanding of, and policy response to, the diverse social, economic and personal factors related to homelessness and the risk of becoming homeless.  The Australian Government has committed $5.4 million to the project.

It combines de-identified longitudinal information held by Centrelink with a sample survey of over 1,600 income recipients across Australia who have been flagged by Centrelink as homeless or at risk of homelessness.  A third group, identified as vulnerable to homelessness, has also been included.  It is the first large-scale longitudinal study in Australia of its type, with four waves over two years from 2011 – 2013.

The need for this research was identified in the Australian Government’s White Paper on Homelessness. Current Australia-wide data does not capture issues such as the length of time that people are homeless and why this varies for different people.

Australian Government Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor said the two-year study would provide valuable insights into the causes of homelessness and its effects on people because it will follow the same group of people over time and record their experiences.

The evidence will help inform the Government to make better investments in homelessness support programs and can be used by other government agencies, non-government organisations and academics.

Wave 1 fieldwork was completed at the end of November 2011. Dr Rosanna Scutella from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, which has been contracted to manage the project, presented an analysis of the First Wave findings at the National Homelessness Research Conference on 20 April 2012.

A formal report on the findings from Wave 1 was released in August 2012.

The Waves 1-2 report was released at the end of 2012.

The next report, based on Waves 1-4, is due in late 2013.

De-identified Journeys Home datasets are available for release to approved researchers under a formal licensing process.