The Funding of Western Australian Homelessness Services

The Funding of Western Australian Homelessness Services 2022 report commissioned by Shelter WA and undertaken by the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia (CSI UWA), is a comprehensive overview of the funding of homelessness services in Western Australia (WA).

This report is based on findings from 73 homelessness services operating across WA and outcomes from focus groups comprising of homelessness service CEOs and managers.

Data Collected

Data for the present report was collected using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods.

A comprehensive online survey, the Western Australian Homelessness Funding and Delivery Survey, was conducted with 73 homelessness services from 36 agencies operating within Western Australia. This survey data included 61 Specialist Homelessness Services (SHSs) (which draw on National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) funding in addition to other sources) and 12 non-SHSs (drawing on various funding sources but not NHHA funding) delivering homelessness assistance.

Both SHSs and non-SHSs varied across a range of characteristics, including geographic location, whether the agency was homelessness specific, main client group, and number of clients assisted. Managing agencies ranged from small, with an annual revenue of less than $1 million (6.8%), to very large with revenues over $5 million per annum (64.4%). Just over half of the agencies had more than 50 full time equivalent (FTE) staff. Qualitative data from focus groups featuring executives from WA homelessness services and case studies drawn from a variety of homelessness sector settings is presented to support the quantitative results.

View the slide presentation.

Funding Focus

The report provides an overview of the current state of homelessness and policy that WA homelessness services operate within, before presenting comprehensive evidence of the funding of homelessness services, which assist those experiencing homelessness.

The evidence from the Western Australian Homelessness Funding and Delivery Survey indicated that there was high levels of unmet need and that the effectiveness of funding and service delivery is impacted by the rollover of contracts, the short-term nature of contracts, and the (in)flexibility and (lack of) discretion of use of funding.

The recommendations made in the report are directed at the aggregate, systems-wide level and at the level of individual homelessness services. The recommendations made address two key policy concerns: what is the appropriate strategic framework, and level and mix of funding to address the fundamental drivers of Western Australian homelessness and how can individual homelessness services be funded and supported to best meet the needs of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Recommendations are presented against the goal of ending homelessness in Western Australia and current high levels of unmet demand for housing services.

The Report

Read the full report here.