BY Amy Lawton & Dr. Olivia Hamilton

In 2017/18, WESTIR Limited was approached by Penrith City Council on behalf of the Penrith Homelessness Interagency to undertake a homelessness service mapping research project for the Penrith area. The research project was funded by the 2017 Penrith Club Grants program.

The aim of this research project was to provide an up to date overview of the local homelessness service system and build its capacity by:

  • Identifying which funded and non-funded/voluntary services are currently available to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Penrith region;
  • Understanding the role that mainstream and voluntary services play when working with specialist homelessness services (SHS) in the broader system;
  • Enhancing the information and referral pathways available to community workers so they can effectively link people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with appropriate support;
  • Establishing an evidence base for homelessness service advocacy, highlighting service provision gaps, opportunities for service collaborations and partnerships, and where additional resources may be most effective.

This research project involved two parts: an online service mapping survey completed by 45 unique services/programs in the Penrith area and eleven interviews with workers in the local homelessness service system. It also included a range of recommendations based on the project’s findings. The full report can be viewed below.

An article summarising the main findings, “Lessons for Sector Workforce Development from the Penrith Homelessness Interagency Service Mapping Research Project”, was published in the July 2018 issue of Parity Magazine, Workforce Development in the Homelessness and Social Housing Sector. A copy of the article can also be accessed below.

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