ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Using administrative data to find the homeless and vulnerable: the design of a longitudinal study of housing instability in Australia

Nicole Watson

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 6 - Law Building, Room 022
Date: 2012-07-12 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2012-04-03


As part of the Australian government’s commitment to halving overall homelessness by 2020, a research agenda was developed to expand the evidence base for understanding and preventing homelessness. A major component of this research is a new longitudinal study (Journeys Home: Longitudinal Study of Factors Affecting Housing Stability), which began in September 2011. Interviews have been conducted face-to-face with 1600 individuals in the first wave and these people will be followed at 6-montly intervals over a further 3 waves. This study will permit examination of the pathways into and out of homelessness as the sample includes people who are homeless as well as those vulnerable to homelessness.

Administrative data of income support recipients was used to select the sample. Since January 2010, people have been flagged if they indicate they are without conventional accommodation (e.g., sleeping rough, squatting), living in temporary accommodation, or in medium- to long-term accommodation without a lease (e.g., boarding house or caravan park). Another group who had characteristics similar to those flagged but were not themselves flagged were identified via a modelling process. A clustered sample in 36 locations around Australia was selected from the flagged and non-flagged groups.

We will describe the sample design and response rates in the first wave. An analysis of non-response biases will also be undertaken using the rich administrative data.