Since 2010 the Mercy Foundation has been working with Micah Projects in Brisbane and then with other members of the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness to support communities throughout Australia to undertake Registry Weeks. These projects are specifically designed to meet and know by name everyone who is sleeping rough (or in other forms of homelessness) in a community. People are asked to complete a triage tool so that the local collaboration of service providers and community members can continue to work together to source housing and support so that people identified can be linked with housing as it becomes available. That is the primary aim of a Registry Week and we have seen a number of communities go on to house and (if also needed) support people in housing.
The other benefit of doing a Registry Week is that it gives you an accurate picture of who is experiencing homelessness in your community. This data can help with advocacy efforts to find additional affordable and social housing. A Registry Week also has an ongoing benefit, because unlike a ‘street count’ no one is just guessing who is homeless and it doesn’t just provide a one night snap shot. The register is an ongoing tool that can be used by the lead agencies to ensure anyone newly homeless in the community is invited to be added and those who are housed are noted as no longer experiencing homelessness.
We were grateful that Professor Paul Flatau and his team from the Centre for Social Impact at University of Western Australia in liaison with the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness launched a report on 12 April 2018 on the analysis of de-identified data from all registry weeks in Australia since 2010. The report is the first of its kind and will help all of us to better understand the issue and continue to seek solutions to homelessness in Australia. The report can be found here: http://www.csi.edu.au/research/project/the-state-of-homelessness/