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Meeting national information needs on homelessness: Partnerships in developing, collecting and reporting homelessness services statistics


In 2008 the Council of Australian Governments agreed to national reforms to address homelessness through the National Agreement on Affordable Housing (NAHA) and National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH). Integral to meeting the information needs to support these reforms was the development of a Specialist Homelessness Services data collection. Working in collaboration with Commonwealth and state and territory governments, NGO service providers, peak homelessness bodies and a private sector information systems supplier, the Australian Institute of Health and Wealth (AIHW) developed a new national data collection and introduced an innovative data collection instrument and client information management system, known as SHIP. SHIP enables NGO case workers to easily capture client information, case manage clients and monitor their progress. SHIP allows seamless collection of data conforming to national data standards and submission to AIHW each month via a secure website.

This paper describes the strong partnership arrangements that successfully delivered the new information system and data collection to 1500 NGO service providers across Australia and is providing valuable information to support measurement of policy effectiveness under the NAHA and NPAH in achieving successful outcomes for the clients of homelessness services.