University of Western Australia: New report presents plan to end homelessness

A new report led by a researcher at The University of Western Australia outlines a five-step national plan to end homelessness.

Professor Paul Flatau, from UWA’s Business School and acting CEO of the Centre for Social Impact, is lead author of the report Ending Homelessness in Australia: An evidence and policy deep dive. The report was prepared by the Centre for Social Impact in partnership with The Australian Alliance to End Homelessness and community mental health support provider Neami National

“The report presents evidence from the largest community-based database on rough sleeping and homelessness in Australia,” Professor Flatau said.

“It highlights the deep health and social impacts of homelessness on people’s lives and underlines the need for programs that not only rapidly house those experiencing homelessness, but also provide long-term supportive care for those with high health and social needs.”

The report, to be launched next week, presents findings from the Advance to Zero homelessness database, covering more than 20,000 people experiencing homelessness in Australia’s cities – including many who had been rough sleeping for long periods.

It found, on average, people had experienced homelessness for 3.8 years with around 40 per cent of respondents reporting many years of homelessness.

The prevalence of long-term serious medical conditions and diagnosed mental health conditions were significantly higher than those seen across the general population, especially in terms of hepatitis C, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and depression.

Serious brain injury or head trauma was also very high among those experiencing homelessness, particularly among veterans.

A large proportion of respondents reported they had been in out-of-home care and/or juvenile detention as children and adolescents, reflecting long periods of lifetime vulnerability.

As well as providing a comprehensive analysis of the current state of homelessness in Australia, the report recommends a series of actions, starting with the implementation of a national end homelessness strategy, an increase in social and affordable housing options and commitment from all levels of government.

The Ending Homelessness in Australia report will be launched in a webinar which will include a presentation of key findings, a panel discussion with experts and feature a lived experience perspective.

The webinar is at 9.30am on Monday 7 February, register via Humanitix. Read the Ending Homelessness in Australia report from 7 February on the Centre for Social Impact’s website.

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