Homelessness

Start and anticipated finishing date: January 2020 – December 2021

Funding details: Healthway Exploratory grant

Project team and contact: Dr Gemma Crawford (Curtin University), Dr Krysten Blackford (Curtin University), Dr Roanna Lobo (Curtin University), Assoc Prof Alison Reid (Curtin University), Assoc Prof Yun Zhao (Curtin University), Assoc Prof Richard Norman (Curtin University), Kahlia McCausland (Curtin University).

Advisory Committee: Vivienne Pillay (Ethnic Community Council WA), Ramdas Sankaran (Multicultural Services Centre WA), Helen Maddocks (Office of Multicultural Interests), John Berger (WA Alliance to End Homelessness), Julia Prior (Department of Communities), David Axworthy (Mental Health Commission), Leah Watkins (Ruah Community Services) and Christina Pollard (Act-Belong-Commit).

The context: Approximately 13% of people accessing homelessness services in 2016 were born overseas. People who are homeless may experience social exclusion or be at risk for a range of mental health issues, potentially exacerbated for those from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds. Migrant mental health may decline on arrival due to a range of factors relating to settlement. Lack of appropriate mental health and social services are barriers to secure housing; however there are limited recommendations for action in Western Australian (WA) policy and strategy.

Project overview and aims: The aim of this exploratory research is to identify the unique needs of CaLD populations who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in WA and who may have experienced or be at risk for mental health problems and social isolation and make recommendations for interventions and services that are provided in a culturally appropriate, holistic and equitable way. The research will inform approaches to increase access to secure housing and improve mental outcomes for CALD people who are vulnerable for or experiencing homelessness. The primary target group of this research is people from CaLD backgrounds living in WA who are vulnerable for or have experienced homelessness and who have experienced or are at risk for mental health problems or social isolation. The secondary target group is WA policy makers and service providers working in housing, migration and mental health with experience working with or for the primary target group.

Objectives:

Mental health, homelessness and cultural and linguistic diversity in WA

Engage policymakers, service deliverers, researchers, health promotion practitioners, advocates and those with lived experiences in meaningful, solution oriented research processes.

Describe the risk profile of people from CaLD backgrounds who are vulnerable to or have experienced homelessness in WA and the impact of and on mental health and social isolation.

Examine experiences of social isolation and mental health impacts amongst people from CaLD backgrounds and barriers & enablers to securing stable housing.

Explore migration and settlement journeys amongst people from CaLD backgrounds who are vulnerable to or have experienced homelessness in WA.

Describe existing services for people from CaLD backgrounds who are vulnerable to or have experienced homelessness in WA and identify gaps for prevention and service delivery.

Examine perceptions amongst people from CaLD backgrounds regarding acceptability of existing homelessness and housing services and prevention strategies for mental health.

Engage policymakers, service deliverers, researchers, health promotion practitioners, advocates and those with lived experiences in meaningful, solution oriented research processes.

Describe the risk profile of people from CaLD backgrounds who are vulnerable to or have experienced homelessness in WA and the impact of and on mental health and social isolation.

Examine experiences of social isolation and mental health impacts amongst people from CaLD backgrounds and barriers & enablers to securing stable housing.

Project impacts: The findings will add more evidence to the literature around comparison of modes of survey administration, specifically for migrants and surveys of sensitive issues. The findings will suggest the mode(s) of administration enabling people with limited literacy and language barriers to take part in surveys of socially discriminable behaviours. The findings will inform whether migrants with limited literacy or who use different dialects can take part in the ACASI survey with audio tracks in most commonly used languages in source and receiving countries, complemented with pictures. The study will contribute to the engagement of vulnerable populations in public health research.

School of Public Health, Curtin University, Bentley, WA

+61 8 9266 4739

copahm@curtin.edu.au 

Building 400,  School of Public Health,

Curtin University, WA.

+61 9266 4739

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