Mercy Foundation Research & Workshops



High quality research is key to ensuring high quality responses to homelessness. Building on evidence based and effective interventions is essential to the objective of ending homelessness.

Homelessness Forums hosted and co-hosted by the Mercy Foundation

The Mercy Foundation regularly hosts research and educational forums on key homelessness policy and services issues. The following is a list of forums (as well as links to papers, where available) that have been held in recent years.

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 in Australia

2013  Ending Homelessness: One person at a time.

2013  Behaving Badly or Brain Injury? - A workshop on brain injury and homelessness.

2012  Ending Long Term 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 

2010  Official opening and Homelessness Presentations - Mercy Foundation's new offices

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

Commissioning research

From time to time the Mercy Foundation commissions research into issues relevant to ending homelessness.

2012: Older Women's Pathways out of Homelessness in Australia

In 2012, the Mercy Foundation invited submissions from suitably qualified and experienced academics or private consultants to carry out scoping research on 'Older Women's Pathways out of Homelessness in Australia'.

Dr Maree Peterson and Dr Cameron Parsell at the University of Queensland carried out the research and the final report was launched in early 2013 by The Hon. Anna Bligh at the Mercy Foundation.

Click here to download a copy of the final report.

2016: Innovative Solutions to Ending Youth Homelessness

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

Download the report here

2016/17: Older Women's Studio Development Project

The Sydney Women's Housing Alliance led this research into whether small studio accommodation was suitable for older women who had experienced homelessness and were eligible for affordable housing. The intention was to provide guidelines to increase the supply of affordable housing for single older women especially in the inner and middle ring suburbs of Sydney.

Click here to download the report: Older Women's Studio Development Project

Research and evidence

The Mercy Foundation also carries out smaller research studies as well as summary papers on the evidence in the homelessness and housing sectors. The Mercy Foundation's CEO is also regularly invited to make presentations at relevant conferences, seminars and forums.

The following are some links to presentations and papers by the Mercy Foundation.

Common ground and Permanent Supportive Housing in Australia

Street to Home Forum, Melbourne - 'Housing First and Beyond' (Youtube)

‘Housing Actually: Evidence for Housing First’ (parity article).

Ending Homelessness Keynote

Some research sites and other homelessness links in Australia

Government homelessness related links in Australia


States - Housing and/or Homelessness

Local Government - Housing and/or Homelessness

Conference and event information

Here are a number of recent and up-coming homelessness and housing related conferences. Click on the links to go to information about or presentations from each conference.

Overseas homelessness and housing related links

Critical Characteristics of Supportive Housing

This report can be found at

A copy can also be downloaded here

The Wellesley Institute in Canada is a research organisation focussed on urban health. It is important that we improve our understanding of how and why permanent supportive housing (using models such as Common Ground) work to solve people’s homelessness and sustain tenancies. This contribution to the evidence base on supportive housing is both a timely and intelligent report.

“The importance of good quality housing in people’s lives cannot be overstated. A resident of supported housing articulates its impact:

It has allowed me to stop worrying about those things that were holding me back. [Previously], I was so suppressed with all this negative energy and, and these negative things going on around me. I just felt hopeless and trapped. But due to my housing situation being changed - I have a beautiful home and I’m happy there - now I’m learning to be happy with me... I’m a good person and I have a good life, things are going good, I’m going to go out today and I’m going to be a nice person, and I’m going to have a good day. And I’m going to do, I’m going to help somebody if I can, and I’m going to make somebody smile…I can focus on more positive things, now.

Canadian governments have come to recognize that a significant proportion of the homeless population has mental health problems. As these governments attempt to alleviate homelessness in our communities, the role of supported housing for those with mental health issues is paramount. Furthermore, it is critical that supported housing programs are designed to ensure the highest degree of housing success and stability for residents. It is therefore necessary to determine what factors contribute to the success of supported housing.

Critical Characteristics of Supported Housing: Findings from the Literature, Residents, and Service Providers lays the foundation for the development of principles that can be used to guide Supported Housing programming and that can continue to be examined in future research. It also provides a set of key characteristics critical to supported housing that can be used by supported housing programs to modify and evaluate their current programs and in the development of new housing programs”. (excerpt from Wellesley Institute website).