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The cost effectiveness of Australian tenancy support programs for formerly homeless people


Kaylene Zaretzky and Paul Flatau


The aim of this two-part project is to fill the critical gap in the research and policy literature, using a consistent approach across jurisdictions. The approach will examine the effectiveness of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) programs aimed at accessing and maintaining social tenancies for formerly homeless people and those at high risk of homelessness, such as those leaving institutions. It also adds to the knowledge base regarding the potential offsets to the cost of delivering tenancy support programs.
This aim is achieved over the two parts of the study by examining program activity levels such as the duration of tenancies and client numbers, and non-shelter client outcomes of the programs. Potential savings generated elsewhere in government budgets due to changes in service structure are investigated alongside the costs of providing housing and support, to add to the growing knowledge base around the cost-effectiveness of these programs.
The question of whether investment in the NPAH programs has contributed to a range of health, economic and social inclusion benefits to formerly homeless clients is also explored.
The outputs of the project are two reports. This first report examines the available administrative data to present consolidated findings on the effectiveness and cost of delivering NPAH-funded tenancy sustainability programs, that is, programs providing support to access/maintain social housing tenancy.

This report is the first of two examining the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these programs.
The second report will delve in detail on programs operating in Western Australia examining longer-term client outcomes and the wider benefits of these programs using linked administrative data together with a one-off survey of tenants.

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