Homelessness Systems, Pathways and Experiences: A study of Micah Projects homeless services and initiatives

The challenge

The rate of homelessness in Brisbane has fluctuated over the past decade or more. Many people, particularly long term rough sleepers, have been supported to access housing, through a range of initiatives and optimal conditions, including Micah Projects’ Street to Home, the establishment of Brisbane Common Ground, 50 Lives 50 Homes, and the stimulus spending that saw increased social housing stock enter the system. More recently, the response to COVID-19 has seen many people move from rough sleeping into various forms of temporary accommodation, and according to the Queensland Government, many people have exited homelessness into housing. Despite the government claims and successes over the years, there are significant knowledge gaps about the homeless population in Brisbane, their support needs, their housing pathways, and the extent to which they are accessing secure housing. Further, there are important policy, practice, and knowledge gaps about whether the provision or absence of support promotes or stifles housing access and sustainment. From these knowledge gaps, the proposed research as five aims.

Project aims

  1. To identify the homeless population supported by Micah Projects in Brisbane, including their demographics, duration of homelessness, and housing support needs.
  2. To examine the support received by people who are homeless, along with the support to people who are excited homelessness into housing.
  3. To map people’s movement between homelessness and housing (including back into homelessness), and to identify the resource, policy, practise, and individual factors that are associated with these movements.
  4. To understand people’s experiences of homelessness, support, housing and the Brisbane service system
  5. To provide recommendations for achieving sustainable and measurable reductions in homelessness in Brisbane
  6. To examine the nature of, experience with, and outcomes of, Micah’s collaboration with the Brisbane City Council

Project design and key features

The research will adopt a multi-method research design, including in-depth interviews, quantitative analysis of administrative data held by Micah Projects, and a survey. The research will unfold in four overlapping stages.

Quantitative analysis of administrative data

Stage 1: Micah Projects holds an extensive dataset (administrative data) that has been produced from people completing the VI-SPDAT survey tool. The administrative data will be linked to survey data, and used to measure people’s homelessness and housing pathways, and to identify the associations between pathways and demographics, homelessness histories, and support needs.


Stage 2: People who are homeless and those who exited homelessness will be surveyed. People will be recruited into the survey if they have previously conducted the VI-SPDAT, and if they consent to have their survey data linked to their identifiable VI-SPDAT data. As noted above, the purpose of the survey is to measure pathways through the homelessness and the housing system, and to identify populations within the pathways.

In-depth interviews

Stage 3: In-depth interviews will be conducted with people with lived experiences of homelessness in Brisbane, including those currently homeless and those who have exited homelessness. In-depth interviews will examine the experience of homelessness and exiting homelessness, as well as people’s experiences receiving housing and social supports in the Brisbane service system. The interviews will particularly seek to understand what worked well for people, how people were assisted, in addition to the limitations people experienced with the services system and the barriers they experienced accessing and sustaining housing.

Stage 4: In-depth interviews will also be conducted with government and non-government service providers and policy officers who are employed in the Brisbane housing and social support service system. The in-depth interviews with practitioners and policy stakeholders will aim to map the theory of the service system, identify its rationale, strengths, and limitations.

Key personnel

Centre Member

Dr Ella Kuskoff

Centre Member

Dr Andrew Clarke

Dr Christine Ablaza (School of Social Science, UQ)

Dr Joel Cullin (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, UQ)

Main Funding Body

Micah Projects


June 2021 — July 2023