A research report into a program delivered by the Sacred Heart Mission to move chronically homeless people in Melbourne into stable housing, has found 60 per cent of homeless participants were able to be housed within one year.
The report, Chronic Homelessness in Melbourne: First-Year Outcomes of Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI),led by The University of Western Australia in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology found benefits in the housing-first approach of the program, coupled with intensive support which led to declining issues with drugs and alcohol, fewer nights spent in hospital and a reduction in health care costs.
Director of the Centre for Social Impact at The University of Western Australia Professor Paul Flatau, who led the study said improved health outcomes benefited people in the program but also contributed to significant cost savings for government and the community.
"Participants experienced a 64 per cent decrease in hospital admissions from baseline and a 93 per cent decrease in the average number of nights spent in drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities,” Professor Flatau said.
"Overall men's health costs decreased from $27,898 to $12,480, compared to an increase in cost for the comparison group.
“The report shows permanent housing will lead to improved outcomes across the health and wellbeing sectors over time.”
“This evidence shows J2SI is one of the most effective programs to end homelessness in Australia and I am looking forward to working with Sacred Heart Mission to deliver Phase III of the program, which will start later this year and provide support to 180 people experiencing chronic homelessness in Melbourne over three years.”
Of the 60 people Sacred Heart Mission started working with in 2016, to end their cycle of homelessness through the J2SI program, 100 per cent met the criteria for chronic homelessness.
Sacred Heart Mission CEO Cathy Humphrey said the latest research showed one year into the program, despite a far more challenging housing environment in Victoria, a monumental 60 per cent of people in the J2SI Phase II program were stably housed compared with 30 per cent for those in the randomised control group.
“The report also measures the participant’s sense of safety within the home, which is a key determinant to the suitability and sustainability of accommodation,” she said.
“Of the participants interviewed, 56 per cent reported they felt safe ‘all of the time’, which is an increase of 44 per cent from baseline, with a further 22 per cent reporting feeling safe ‘most of the time’.”
Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Advisor) 08 6488 6876
Professor Paul Flatau (Director, UWA Centre for Social Impact) (+61 4) 47 767 719