Agency Management – Research

Research Survey: How do managers of homelessness programs ‘know’ when a service is successful or effective? How do they judge if it is underperforming?

This research is trying to identify and document the different, sometimes ‘informal’ criteria used in making these assessments, in order to contribute to the dialogue about ‘service performance’ that occurs between funders and service managers. The research is a collaboration between Flinders University and the South Australian Council of Social Service, funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs under the National Homelessness Partnership.

The researchers are particularly interested in the experience of specific services or programs rather than organisations as a whole.  If your organisation provides multiple services please distribute the survey link to appropriate personnel and/or other contacts that may be interested.

The research needs honest, frank input from service managers in the Homelessness sector and all input will remain anonymous.

Please help with this work by:
•Completing the short anonymous survey and/or
•forwarding the survey link through contacts/networks
•Attending a focus group

The focus groups will draw from survey findings to discuss these issues in more depth and will be held in each state and territory between March and May 2012. For more information about the research or to register your interest in attending a focus group, please email Eleanor Button,

Please note: This research project has been approved by the Flinders University Social and Behavioral Research Ethics Committee (Project Number 5485). For more information regarding ethical approval of the project, the Executive Officer of the Committee can be contacted by telephone on 8201 3116, by fax on 8201 2035 or by email

 Working in the Trenches: Compassion Fatigue and Job Satisfaction among Workers Who Serve Homeless Clients

Alena M Howell, St Catherines Unversity, May 2012

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between workers’ experiences of compassion fatigue and workers’ experiences of job satisfaction as they engage with homeless clientele with various presenting concerns.

Findings were based on surveys of employees from a targeted agency in America that serves homeless clientele.  Data was collected and analysed using various statistical and calculative methods.

These findings indicated that a correlative relationship exists between workers’ experiences of compassion fatigue and experiences of job satisfaction, although the correlation appears to be weak.  The findings point to the need for continued efforts to identify and treat compassion fatigue among workers, and the continued need to investigate the role of compassion satisfaction opportunities as they influence experiences of job satisfaction.

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