Fighting for My Family Report

 

Fighting for My Family: A Longitudinal Study of Families Experiencing Homelessness (July 2013)

Hulse, K. & Sharam, A. (2013), Fighting for My Family: A Longitudinal Study of Families Experiencing Homelessness, Swinburne University of Technology and Hanover Welfare Services, Melbourne.

This research examines how parents cared for their children and go about their lives during and after periods of homelessness, the interactions they had with a range of people and organisations, and their perspectives and reflections on these experiences.

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This study, completed in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology followed the lives of 57 families experiencing homelessness over an 18-month period. The findings are based on 152 in-depth interviews with 57 families, interviews were held with parents and some teenage children. The research reflects the personal accounts of parents fighting for their families.

The research indicates that even when families’ housing situations improved they remained vulnerable to future homelessness –  being homeless often left them with debts that were hard to address. Despite this hardship, the families were adamant about being a part of the mainstream and resisted being marginalised. They did not feel that their children received the kind of assistance needed to protect them from harm, which affected their sense of belonging Many of the families were re-traumatised by violence, predatory behaviour and coercion, especially when referred or offered accommodation which was unsafe.

The report makes a number of recommendations including a renewed focus on anti-poverty strategies, increasing the supply of affordable housing for families with children and ensuring that programs and practice work in a way that mean families are not marginalised. It also recommends that approaches to family homelessness respect and support the family as a unit and empower parents to care for their children.

This research was supported under Australian Research Council Linkage Projects funding scheme with financial contribution and in-kind support by Hanover Welfare Services.

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Related research:

  • More Than Just Me: Supporting Fathers Who Are Homeless (August 2011) Read more…
  • Home First: A Longitudinal Study of Outcomes for Families Who Have Experienced Homelessness Final Report (July 2004) Read more…
  • Kicking Into the Wind: A Longitudinal Study of Outcomes for Families Who Have Experienced Homelessness (May 2003) Read more…
  • Hanover Family Outcomes Study: Profile of Participating Families and Their Experiences of Homelessness First Report (August 2001) Read more…
  • Gambling the Home Away (June 2001) Read more…

 

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