Families, Youth and Aging

More than 116,000 people experience homelessness on any given night and many of these people have children. An experience of homelessness is overwhelming, stressful and frightening; especially for children. In 2017-18, around 57,000 people, mostly women and children, sought support from Victoria’s specialist homelessness services due to domestic and family violence.

These are serious and traumatic life events causing high levels of stress, with a devastating impact on children’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Our research into families and homelessness has shown that a lack of affordable housing and low income support are two main drivers of family homelessness in Australia.


What works for children experiencing homelessness and/or family/domestic violence?

Part 1: Literature Synthesis | This report, in partnership with the Institute of Child Protection, examines the range of interventions designed to support and improve outcomes for children affected by homelessness and/or family/domestic violence. This report is part one of a two part project: What works for children experiencing homelessness and/or family violence, is a literature synthesis of effective service models, practices and resources.


What works for children experiencing homelessness and/or family/domestic violence?

Part 2: Resource Guide: Mapping programs and resources for children who have experienced homelessness/family violence. This report represents the second part of a two part project entitled: What works for children experiencing homelessness and/or family violence? This Resource Guide maps Australian programs, service interventions and practices for children 12 years of age and under experiencing homelessness and/or family violence.


What works for children experiencing homelessness and/or family/domestic violence?

An Abridged Report | This report provides an overview of the key findings from a two-part study that examined the range of policies and interventions designed to support and improve outcomes for children affected by homelessness and/or family/domestic violence.

July 2013

Fighting for my family: a longitudinal study of families experiencing homelessness

This report, a collaboration between Swinburne University of Technology and the (former) Hanover Welfare Services, focuses on the lived experiences of citizenship to extend and deepen understanding of homelessness experienced by families.



Ageing out of place

The numbers of older people vulnerable to homelessness will increase. This has implications for the homelessness services system. While currently the scale of the problem is small in relation to other homeless subpopulations we currently have an opportunity to plan preventative strategies for this older cohort.



What is ageing in place?

Australia is facing significant demographic shifts over the next decade as the population grows and ages. Homelessness and housing services are reporting an increase in aged people presenting for assistance with no (recent) history of homelessness. Older Australians in private rental, or those entering private rental for the first time, appear to be particularly vulnerable. While the population is diverse, these people all have insecure tenure and limited income.


Ageing in what place? Stage One: Case Studies

These case studies form part of the final report on Stage One of Hanover Welfare
Service’s research into the experience of housing crisis and homelessness for older
Victorians. It was funded through a generous grant from the William Buckland


More than just me: Supporting fathers who are homeless

A partnership with the Institute of Child Protection Studies and Melbourne City Mission, this report explored the impact of homelessness on single fathers and how their experiences of homelessness affected their parenting role and relationship with their children. The findings are informed by in-depth interviews with 40 fathers and an online survey with 89 specialist homelessness services.


‘Home First’ – Family Outcomes Study, Final Report

This third and final report presents findings from a two year study to better understand the pathways out of homelessness and the key issues related to longer-term housing and family stability. The study tracked 42 families following their exit from specialist homelessness services.



‘Kicking into the Wind’ –Family Outcomes Study, Interim Report

This report, the second in the series, presents findings from the first 12 months a longitudinal study of the experiences and pathways out of homelessness for 42 families.



Hanover Family Outcomes Study First Report

This report is the first in a series of a two-year longitudinal study that tracked 42 families to better understand their pathways out of homelessness and housing crisis. The study was developed out of continuing concern about the ever-increasing levels of family homelessness and from the lack of knowledge on the long-term outcomes for families’ wellbeing and housing stability.


Where Now? Homeless Families in the 1990s

The growing needs of families and children first sparked concern for Hanover at the beginning of the 1990s. Hanover partnered with the Australian Institute of Family Studies to undertake the first Australian study of family homelessness. The findings from this ground-breaking work, based on interviews with 33 families, detail their experiences, the adequacy of information and support available to them, and the extent to which government policies contributed to the families’ homelessness, rather than assisted them with their housing needs.


‘The Right to Belong’: Family Homelessness and Citizenship

This report presents the findings of a collaborative study with Swinburne University that investigated the impact of homelessness on the day-to-day lives of women and their children. With a specific focus on citizenship, the findings, based on interviews with 20 women, illustrate how they negotiated their rights and responsibilities daily, how homelessness affected their sense of belonging and their participation in social and economic life.


‘Can we stay here?’: A study of the impact of family homelessness

Conducted between 1994 and 1995, this collaborative study with the Centre for Community Child Health and Ambulatory Paediatrics at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital was one of the first to highlight the detrimental impact of homelessness on children’s physical, emotional, social and educational development. Findings illustrated the need for more appropriate models of service delivery for families with children. A total of 31 families participated in the study, and included 51 children.