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Trauma and Homelessness Initiative: Research findings


Meaghan O’Donnell, Tracey Varker, Richard Cash, Renee Armstrong, Louisa Di Censo, Paul Zanatta, Alan Murnane, Lisa Brophy, Andrea Phelps


The importance of understanding the impact of trauma is increasingly recognised amongst services working with people who experience homelessness. This is particularly the case for those who experience long-term homelessness, or those at risk for experiencing long-term homelessness.

The ultimate goal of the Trauma and Homelessness Initiative (THI) is to investigate the relationship between trauma and long-term homelessness and to develop a trauma and homelessness service framework for Sacred Heart Mission, Mind Australia, Inner South Community Health and VincentCare Victoria. The key focus of this project was on people at risk of experiencing or currently experiencing long-term homelessness. This group tends to move in and out of homelessness, or constantly live with the threat of homelessness. They tend to remain homeless for long periods of time, often cycling between the street, institutions and poor quality, temporary accommodation. They represent a highly vulnerable group.

The initiative involved four stages of research designed to investigate the nature of the relationship between trauma and long-term homelessness, with each stage building on the findings of the last. The first three stages involved a literature review (stage I), and qualitative interviews with service users (stage II) and direct service workers (stage III). The final stage (stage IV) of the THI involved a quantitative study with service users. This executive summary provides an overview of the key findings from each of these stages.

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