• The Family Options Study
  • Volume 19, Number 3
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga
 

International Commentary: The Implications of the Family Options Study for Family Homelessness in Australia

Guy Johnson
Juliet Watson
RMIT University


Prior to the 1980s, family homelessness was rare in Australia. Since then, homelessness has become part of the lives of many families, but we know little about what interventions work. In this article, we assess the extent of family homelessness in Australia and then describe the main program responses. We then turn our attention to the Family Options Study, a randomized controlled trial that examines the impact of three interventions on 2,000 homeless American families in 12 locations during a 3-year period. We conclude that, despite substantial social and economic differences between the United States and Australia, similarities in key aspects of program design mean that results from the Family Options Study are important for Australian policymakers to consider. Indeed, the study raises challenging questions as to whether the current emphasis in Australia on transitional approaches is the most effective way of tackling family homelessness.


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