About this project
Lirata evaluated a joined-up service delivery initiative which provided early intervention to people at risk of homelessness. Outcomes were substantially improved compared to a generalist homelessness response.
Early intervention through a joined-up model
The 360 Degree Integrated Homelessness Service Offer Trial was a partnership initiative of the Victorian Department of Human Services, Australian Government Department of Human Services, and homelessness service provider HomeGround Services (now Launch Housing). The service focused on early intervention, assisting people to maintain or establish housing and to access support services and Commonwealth employment assistance programs.
Lirata undertook an independent evaluation of the 360 Degree Trial in 2013. The consulting team developed a formal housing outcomes model based on literature and practice experience, and used this to undertake a detailed analysis of housing and support outcomes for a cohort of 331 clients. The methodology also included surveys, stakeholder interviews, administrative data analysis and document review.
The 360 Degree Trial demonstrated a promising approach to homelessness intervention. It drew on the complementary contributions of the partners to facilitate outcomes that would be difficult for any of the agencies to achieve in isolation.
Streamlined referral processes, ability to access multiple services at a single site, the coordinated approach and the follow-up provided by workers were key positives for clients. Areas for improvement included the way information was provided, the environments used for assessment with vulnerable clients, and post-accommodation review processes.
The early intervention rate was significantly higher than that achieved through the generalist homelessness entry point service. The data showed that when provided with the right information, tools and referral pathways, Centrelink and DHS staff have the capability to identify people at risk of homelessness and to facilitate timely access to housing assistance.
Prevention of housing breakdown was achieved with 78% of clients who were Housed at first contact, while long-term housing was established for 22% of clients who were Homeless or in Interim accommodation at first contact. In an overstretched service system with a severe undersupply of affordable housing, these outcomes are important achievements of the Trial.
The evaluation supported the project partners to undertake operational and governance improvements to the program model.
When provided with the right information, tools and referral pathways, Centrelink and DHS staff have the capability to identify people at risk of homelessness and to facilitate timely access to housing assistance.