High or very high levels of psychological distress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, chronic physical conditions, and poor social support, are common characteristics of those experiencing chronic homelessness according to Sacred Heart Mission (SHM) research.
Today, SHM officially releases J2SI’s Baseline Research Report, which provides critical context for the program’s second phase and measurement, as well as an insight into the complexity of why 21,000 Australians are experiencing chronic homelessness.
The 60 people SHM are working with to end their cycle of homelessness through its Journey to Social Inclusion Program (J2SI), have experienced homelessness at a young age, long periods of continuous and recurring homelessness and high levels of social isolation.
Cathy Humphrey, CEO, says these findings show since the Mission’s J2SI pilot in 2009 – 2012, people deeply impacted by homelessness are still falling through the cracks of society and our service systems are not equipped to deal with these complex issues.
“J2SI tackles these complex issues through a relationship-based approach, provides long-term support, and works from the premise that if people can sustain their housing, this provides a solid foundation to the next steps of managing health issues, addressing drug and alcohol issues, building skills, becoming a part of the community and contributing to society,” Cathy says.
“J2SI’s second phase highlights SHMs continued commitment and leadership to end the issue of chronic homelessness experienced by many of the most highly disadvantaged members of our community in Victoria.
“J2SI is delivered to those experiencing high disadvantage and chronic homelessness and this report provides reassurance the right cohort was referred to the program, highlighting these people need a relationship-based approach and long-term support.”
Professor Paul Flatau, study lead, and Director of the Centre for Social Impact at The University of Western Australia said with 21,000 Australians who have no place to call home, it’s important to fully understand the critical factors at play that are contributing to their ongoing struggle.
“Only when we understand these factors – such as knowing that 91% of respondents suffer from a chronic physical or mental health condition – can we interrupt the cycle of homelessness and create better outcomes by supporting their journey to improved health and wellbeing, and getting them into housing that is affordable and sustainable,” Paul said.
The data captured in this first survey showed the largest gap between the participants current and future desired situation is permanent housing, with over half saying they were optimistic about getting a house in the future.
The report also highlights parental and caregiver conflict in the family home is a significant reason why people experience homelessness. Other statistics from the Baseline Report show:
Physical and mental health and trauma
Use of health services
Alcohol and other drugs
Other common areas of life dissatisfaction included employment and finances. Three quarters of respondents were optimistic about achieving good outcomes in their capacity for independence and safe use of alcohol and other drugs.
Sacred Heart Mission is currently undertaking the second phase of our Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) program. This follows the pilot which ran from 2009 – 2012, more info here.
The Baseline Report is the first of many reports anticipated as part of J2SI phase two.
The J2SI second phase Research Study is led by Professor Paul Flatau, Director of the Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia. Members of the research team are (listed in the report) from School of Health Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, School of Population Health, the University of Western Australia, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, the University of New South Wales, School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, the University of Western Australia, Department of Statistics, Data Science and Epidemiology, Swinburne University of Technology.
Nicola Hannigan, National Communications Manager | (02) 8926 0915 / 0407 075 307