People sleeping rough and experiencing chronic homelessness in Cairns present with a range of health problems in addition to housing exclusion. The 2012 ISSR-led evaluation of Street to Home in Cairns identified that service integration and multidisciplinary support teams were required to meet the needs of this target group.

In mid-2016 the Department of Housing and Public Work invested in the Cairns Street to Home model by adding resources to include a multidisciplinary support team, including capacity in primary health, mental health and drug and alcohol addiction. The newly resourced multidisciplinary team sought to more effectively meet the needs of people sleeping rough and experiencing chronic homelessness in Cairns.

Our evaluation examined the implementation and outcomes achieved by this initiative, providing an evidence base for local service innovations in Cairns specifically as well as informing future models for multidisciplinary outreach teams to address chronic homelessness. We used ethnographic research in Cairns to build a rich understanding of the nature, quality and impact of agency and client interactions, supported by analysis of administrative records. Our findings were geared towards understanding client journeys and experiences as well as how the multidisciplinary model affected the capacity and confidence of service providers to respond effectively to client needs.

The evaluation results will inform future policy and funding directions for the Street to Home initiative in Queensland.


  • Determine whether the multidisciplinary team achieved its objectives in delivering integrated services to housing clients
  • Identify the critical features that contribute to positive outcomes, including the types of support components required to meet client needs
  • Identify the features that undermine or represent a barrier to success


  • Written Report to inform government decision-making
  • Policy Brief and Presentation

Project team

  • Dr Cameron Parsell
  • Dr Andrew Clarke

Project details

Duration: June 2016–June 2017

Partner: Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works

Funding: Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works

Contact: Dr Cameron Parsell (

ISSR ref: ISSR021479