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The Centre for Social Impact creates study to reduce homelessness

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The Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia is conducting a study in order to understand those who experience homelessness.

Sacred Heart Mission will begin the study (J2SI), with government funding contributing to a third of the overall $3.69m cost of the three-year program.

The Mission is investing the remainder itself, with a portion coming from philanthropy. The J2SI pilot that ran from 2009 – 2012 demonstrated that by taking a different approach to what is currently available, the cycle of long-term homelessness could be broken.

A study undertaken a year post the culmination of the three year study showed that 75 per cent of participants remained in stable housing after four years, 80 per cent had seen a decline in the need for health services and the study offered savings to government of up to $32,080 per participant.

Professor Paul Flatau, Director, Centre of Social Impact said that his team is proud to undertake this long-term study.

Based on findings from the pilot, the program is being refined and will expand from 40 to 60 participants and geographically beyond St Kilda to include Melbourne’s inner-north through partnerships with St Mary’s House of Welcome and VincentCare (Ozanam Community Centre).

“The study will look not only at quantitative data, but importantly, qualitative data, to really understand the individual stories of those who experience chronic homelessness, and to make their transition into housing a sustainable one,” said Flatau.

“This is without a doubt one of the most robust and extensive research studies on the impact of a critical intervention and support program that we have seen in Australia, and indeed around the world,” said Flatau.

Flatau said that constriction of resources limit the amount of people that can go into the program.

“We are trying to understand what outcomes are being achieved, what is written on paper and what is actually happening are two different things.”

“We want to see that there is a strong foundation to continue.”

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