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Policies and programmes to end homelessness in Australia: Learning from international practice


Cameron Parsell, Institute for Social Science Research, The University Queensland, GPN3, St Lucia, Queensland, 4072, Australia. E-mail:


Parsell C, Jones A, Head B. Policies and programmes to end homelessness in Australia: Learning from international practice.

Many welfare states throughout the industrialised world have recently implemented policies to achieve targeted reductions in homelessness. These policy and welfare initiatives differ across national contexts. They are similar, however, in moving away from social programmes that have essentially ‘managed homelessness’ towards interventions that seek to permanently end homelessness. Australia has recently adopted similar homelessness policy objectives. This article examines the manner in which Australian homelessness policy has been converging with international policy directions. More specifically, the article scrutinises Australian social programmes adopted from the UK and USA as a means to achieve strategic goals of reducing homelessness. It argues that although Australian homelessness policy objectives are converging with international policy, Australian programmes modelled on international successes do not have some of the elements shown elsewhere to be crucial for achieving sustainable reductions in homelessness. This may become central to explaining programme outcomes in future years.

Key Practitioner Message:Strategies aimed at permanently ending homelessness represent a significant shift to contemporary professional practice;Homelessness programmes internationally are now characterised by their branding or identification with evidence-based models;It is important to critically scrutinise these models, examining their core elements and the manner in which they are appropriated and incorporated across jurisdictions.