21 June 2010

The University of Queensland is part of a $4 million research partnership to develop evidence to underpin policies aimed at reducing the amount of homeless people in Australia.

Professor Andrew Jones, from UQ’s Institute for Social Science Research, said the funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs presented a real opportunity to provide evidence-based recommendations to help shape government policy.

“Homelessness is one of those issues that are symbolic of how a country treats marginalised people,” Professor Jones said.

“This is an area where research has an important role to play in making a difference in people’s lives.

“What we hope to do is to find ways of preventing homeless and assisting people who have experienced homelessness to re-engage with mainstream society.”

The funding – to be shared between UQ, Swinburne University of Technology's Institute for Social Research and Flinders University's Flinders Partners – is part of the Federal Government’s National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness that aims to halve homelessness and offer accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.

Professor Jones said the Institute would receive about $1.33 million to run a number of research projects between now and 2013 which will establish ISSR and UQ as a leading centre of homelessness research in the country.

“Some of the areas we will cover in our research are Indigenous homelessness, housing for older homeless people, people sleeping rough and analysis of the homelessness workforce,” he said.

“We have a terrific platform to understand what works in helping the homeless and what it means to be homeless.

“As a University we have an important social obligation to engage with issues such as homelessness and through research to make a real difference in the community.”

Media: Professor Andrew Jones (07 3365 2556).