Our evaluation of the ACT Specialist Homelessness Service system reforms has been published by the ACT Government. The reforms, implemented between 2009 and 2014, included shifting the system from a crisis accommodation response to a ‘support in place’ model and introducing a central point to streamline access to services and housing. To examine the system, service delivery and sector outcomes, we analysed service user data and provider reports, surveyed specialist homelessness services and partner organisations, and developed five case studies to explore key issues in depth. These were based on interviews and document analysis.
The evaluation found that the sector has provided more services, particularly non-accommodation supports, and has achieved better non-housing related outcomes for service users. However, exits into unstable housing situations (no tenure/ marginal renter) increased as ACT specialist homelessness services faced an increase in the proportion of service users entering the system in poor housing situations over the reform period. While there was some initial resistance to the centralised intake service, indications are that it is leading to a more equitable and more efficient service system. The findings have been presented to the sector and are informing discussions about future directions.