Outcomes:
  • The integration of responses to homelessness is complex, multifaceted and challenging.
  • Improvements to the availability and delivery of services have been made as a result of the initiatives examined. This has occurred through improved relationships between service providers and across service systems.
  • Integration is a time, resource and finance intensive process that benefits from effective governance, leadership and tailored context specific strategy.
  • Integration strategies including a mix of policy and service delivery responses are more effective and sustainable, than those that operate solely on one of those levels, as they tend to reinforce each other.
  • Outcomes from the case studies support findings from the literature review in the first report, see the five recommendations identified below which have implications for those engaged in endeavors to prevent homelessness.
Recommendations:
  • Policy coherence and Leadership are central. Having an overarching, national policy agenda that drives homelessness reform is of utmost importance as this informs strategy in all states and territories and influences service delivery practice.
  • Integration should be a means not an end. Integration should be understood as a method for achieving service goals, not as a goal itself. The purpose and focus of integration should always be to effect positive change on service delivery goals.
  • Integration planning should recognize that integration is difficult and costly and involves traversing and deconstructing barriers between organisations, sectors and programs, which span cultural, disciplinary, professional and geographic boundaries.
  • A fit purpose strategy is critical. The careful choice of strategy is of fundamental importance to effective integration; whether it be for case coordination, shared goals, exercise of authority or a combination – it needs specific context and goals.
  • Governance needs to be addressed. Effective governance is an essential part of every collaborative effort. It ensures buy-in from stakeholders, accountability and a mandate for driving the process.
Policy Impact:
  • The report has been published on the government homelessness clearinghouse website. (see link at right in Publications and Reports)
Future Challenges:
  • Different types of integration are appropriate for different geographical settings and different purposes.
  • Time limited funding for complex reforms such as integration is problematic but funding models are generally linked to time limited strategies.
  • There are benefits and limitations to government driven approaches to service integration. It can lend authority to the process and compel cooperation between parties, but needs to involve genuine participation and consultation to be effective.

Inter-organisational Collaboration in Response to Homelessness

This research reviewed existing evidence and examine examples of contemporary leading practice to identify principles, policies and prctices for effective collaboration amongst specialist homelessness services and between mainstream and specialist homelessness services. Processes of service integration and effective collaboration amongst and between specialist homelessness services are widely recognised as critically important to achievement of an effective response to homelessness.

As part of the Homesless Research Partnership Agreement with the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, this project provided a contemporary evidence base and practical tools to inform policy and practice in the areas of collaboration and service integration.

All integration initiatives studied in the report represented very different design approaches, reflecting different goals, participants and contexts. They also differed in the extent to which the design was implemented, executed and understood by facilitators and participants. The one constant between the case studies was that although none of them achieved their ultimate objectives, they all had some degree of success in bringing diverse stakeholders together in new ways to improve homelessness responses.

Project Value: 
$277 579.00
Funding: 
FaHCSIA
Partners: 
FaHCSIA
Date: 
2010 to 2012
Time status: 
Complete
Contact: 
Professor Brian Head (b.head@uq.edu.au )
Outcomes:
  • The integration of responses to homelessness is complex, multifaceted and challenging.
  • Improvements to the availability and delivery of services have been made as a result of the initiatives examined. This has occurred through improved relationships between service providers and across service systems.
  • Integration is a time, resource and finance intensive process that benefits from effective governance, leadership and tailored context specific strategy.
  • Integration strategies including a mix of policy and service delivery responses are more effective and sustainable, than those that operate solely on one of those levels, as they tend to reinforce each other.
  • Outcomes from the case studies support findings from the literature review in the first report, see the five recommendations identified below which have implications for those engaged in endeavors to prevent homelessness.
Publications and Reports: 

Phillips, R. (2013) Integrated Responses to Homelessness in Australia: What works and why? Institute for Social Science Research, UQ, Brisbane.  Available at: http://homelessnessclearinghouse.govspace.gov.au/about-homelessness/agreements-and-initiatives/commonwealth-initiatives/national-homelessness-research/research-release-integrated-responses-to-homelessness-in-australia-what-works-and-why-2013-australia/

Phillips, R., head, B. and Jones, A.  (2012) Integrated Responses to Homelessness in Australia: an analysis of ‘joined up’ policy and practice. Institute for Social Science Research, UQ, Brisbane.  Available at: http://homelessnessclearinghouse.govspace.gov.au/about-homelessness/agreements-and-initiatives/commonwealth-initiatives/national-homelessness-research/integrated-responses-to-homelessness-in-australia-an-analysis-of-%E2%80%98joined-up%E2%80%99-policy-and-practice-2012/

Cluster: 
Type: 
Qualitative
Case studies
Keywords: 
Homelessness
Social exclusion
Number: 
ISSR020063