Mercy Foundation Research & Workshops

Our commitment to research and evidence


The Mercy Foundation has a commitment to staying well informed and up-to-date on homelessness, housing and other key social justice issues. In order to advocate for policy and program change that is ‘evidence based’ it is essential that we know what works and why.

Latest research

Service or Servitude: A Study of Trafficking for Domestic Work in Australia by Heather Moore. This report analyses 30+ cases of domestic servitude in Australia. It compiles new and existing information from a range of sources, including national and international data on domestic work and migration, current government statistics and personal accounts by individuals who have experienced domestic servitude Australia. The report offers further areas for research and recommendations to address domestic servitude in Australia.

Older women and homelessness

From time to time the Foundation has commissioned research on a specific topic. A good example is the research work on older women’s homelessness in Australia. The most recent report, Retiring into Poverty – National Plan for Change – Increasing Housing Security for Older Women 2018, was produced by the National Older Women’s Housing and Homelessness Working Group established by Felicity Reynolds, Mercy Foundation CEO.

The Mercy Foundation assisted in funding the report Older Women’s Studio Development Project in December 2016. This is a co-design project to inform design guidelines suitable to the housing needs of single homeless older women.

Another report released in 2016, A Plan for Change: Homes for Older Single Women,  proposes a number of initiatives to help oder women to live in homes that are safe, secure, affordable and appropriate.

Anna Bligh AC, Felicity Reynolds and Dr Maree Petersen

The public conversation about the growing numbers of older women living in poverty and their need for affordable housing options was started in 2014 with the publishing of,Older Women’s pathways out of Homelessness, a report commissioned by the Mercy Foundation. The research for this report was undertaken by Dr Maree Petersen at the University of Queensland.  The Mercy Foundation convened a working group with representatives from the homelessness, housing, women’s and aged sectors which resulted in several achievements over a 3 year period: older women’s homelessness on the policy agenda in NSW, media attention to the issue, some new housing initiatives targeted specifically for older women and a studio design research project informed by older women.

Youth homelessness

The Mercy Foundation worked in partnership with the Social Impact Hub to develop a resource for government, private investors, services and NGOs on the different impact investing mechanisms available to finance innovative approaches to reduce youth homelessness. Social Impact Hub and Mercy Foundation Youth Homelessness Report

Other research

The Mercy Foundation has also supported a number of research projects through its Grants to End Homelessness program since 2008. See the Grants section of this website.

Recent articles and presentations

SBS Insight – Not just personal choices – older women and homelessness 2017

Working Together to End Homelessness – Australian Alliance to End Homelessness Presentation 2017 Homelessness Conference, Adelaide

Registry Weeks – Data and Homelessness Edition of Parity – 2017 Article on Registry Weeks in Australia

Opinion – Poverty and Homelessness Edition of Parity 2017 Opinion Piece


In late 2014 the book Homelessness in Australia was published by UNSW press. The final chapter titled ‘Reforming the Service System’ was co-authored by Dr Jane Bullen and Felicity Reynolds. Copies of the book can be purchased from the Council to Homeless Persons in Victoria or via many online bookshops.

Felicity Reynolds, former CEO of the Mercy Foundation, was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate effective responses to people who experience chronic homelessness. That report can be accessed here. 

Workshops and Forums

The Mercy Foundation also performs a role with the housing, homelessness and social justice sectors by planning and hosting public workshops and forums that highlight relevant issues. These events focus on good practice, better homelessness and housing policy responses and specific issues of relevance to people who are working to get homeless people into housing – and to support people to stay housed.

Since 2008 the Mercy Foundation has hosted 24 workshops and forums for workers, leaders and the general community. We plan to continue to host these types of information and education opportunities, so keep visiting our website to hear about up-coming events.

The following are workshops and forums hosted by the Mercy Foundation. Summaries and presentations from recent forums are available by clicking on the title of the forum. If you’re interested in information from earlier forums, please contact the Mercy Foundation.

2016 Understanding Homelessness and Trauma

2016 A Plan for Change: Homes for Older Women

2014  Connecting and Collaborating: What are we doing to assist asylum seekers in Sydney?

2014  Older Women’s Pathways out of Homelessness

2013  Ending Homelessness: One person at a time

2013  Behaving Badly or Brain Injury – A workshop on brain injury and homelessness

2012  Ending Chronic Homelessness: Taking permanent supportive housing to scale

2012 Philanthropic, Corporate and Private Sector Responses to Homelessness

2012  Healthcare and Homelessness National Roundtable

2012  Housing First in Europe

2011  Forum highlighting the work of Micah Projects and Wentworth Community Housing

2011  Co-hosted Older People and Homelessness (with Catholic Community Services)

2011  Co-hosted Supportive Housing Workshop by Dr Sam Tsemberis (Pathways to Housing)

2010  Registry Week – Inner Sydney

2010  Homelessness and Asylum Seekers

2009  What would it take to end homelessness?

2009  An evening with Rosanne Haggerty, Founder, Common Ground

2009  Solving Homelessness: What’s Happening in London Now

2009  Philanthropy and Ending Homelessness

2009  Housing When? Evidence based practice for solving homelessness

2009  Women and Homelessness: A Stage not a State

2008  20:20 Vision – Insights into Ending Homelessness

2008  Roundtable discussion on homelessness