Working Paper

Ending homelessness in Australia: What is the problem?

Published: 2023

Despite substantial evidence that there are solutions to homelessness, and that there are many
good reasons to want it solved, homelessness continues to both persist and increase. This
literature review explores how homelessness is currently understood and responded to, with the
intention of identifying the factors that might prevent it from being effectively ended in Australia.

The currently available research appears to provide clear direction for effective interventions to
address homelessness. There is compelling evidence that permanent supportive housing, where
permanent housing is offered alongside a range of supports, is effective. In Australia, however,
interventions guided by permanent supportive housing principles have failed to ensure the
inclusion of the necessary housing. Further, government investment into housing and
homelessness services currently falls short of the presenting need. There are also unanswered
questions about who is responsible for ending homelessness and about the ways in which ideas
of ‘housing readiness’ might impact on access to suitable housing. Overall, this literature review
identified that not all barriers to addressing homelessness are accounted for in the current
literature. Critically, much of the literature fails to engage with the agency and knowledge of the
people that homelessness affects. As such, this literature review suggests that future research
must engage with the ways in which lived experience involvement might contribute to more
effectively addressing, and ending, homelessness in Australia.

This literature review provides an overview of the current evidence for solving homelessness.
Policy and practice will benefit from reviewing their alignment with the evidence: Is there
adequate investment into the interventions that are demonstrably successful? Are the known
pitfalls avoided? This literature review also identifies currently unanswered questions and,
therefore, suggestions for future research, leading to the end of homelessness in Australia.


Constantine, S. (2023). ‘Ending homelessness in Australia: what is the problem?’, Life Course Centre Working Paper Series, 2023-13. Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland.