Is Permanent Supportive Housing permanent?

In a paper published in Housing and Society, Dr Sarah Taylor and Professor Guy Johnson from the Unison Housing Research Lab examined nine years of tenancy records from Elizabeth Street Common Ground (ESCG). Owned and managed by Unison, the single-site, mixed-tenure Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) development in Melbourne includes both supported and affordable tenancies.

PSH is recognised as an effective intervention for individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness. However, evidence of its efficacy mostly comes from scattered-site PSH.

Combining survival and hazard analyses with analysis of exit reasons, the peer-reviewed paper addresses the following research questions:  

  1. How long do people reside in a single-site, mixed-tenure PSH facility?  
  2. Among those that leave, do they depart in favourable or unfavourable circumstances?  
  3. Are the characteristics of short duration tenancies different from tenancies that last longer? 


The study provides insights into tenancy dynamics in a single-site mixed-tenure PSH facility in Australia over a long observation period.

With nine Common Ground facilities across the country and more single-site PSH planned, the results provide policy makers with information they can use to improve housing retention, reduce unfavourable exits, and better understand which groups are more likely to sustain their tenancies in this style of PSH. 




Key findings:

  • Researchers estimate that the probability of sustaining a tenancy to two years is 50% for supported tenancies and 46% for affordable tenancies.
  • They find that of tenancies that exit, over two-thirds do so in unfavourable circumstances, and these tenancies are shorter than those that exit in favourable circumstances.
  • The research also shows that some tenant attributes (including age and psychiatric disability) are predictors of longer tenancies, but tenancies started earlier in the site’s history were more likely to exit early.
  • Dr Taylor and Prof Johnson argue that it is vital to acknowledge that people do exit PSH and to develop effective policy and practice responses to raise tenancy durations where practicable, and ensure that more people who leave do so in favourable circumstances.





>> Click here to read a summary of the Research Paper

>> Click here to read the full article:



About the Unison Housing Research Lab

The Unison Housing Research Lab is a unique education and research collaboration between RMIT University and Unison Housing. The Lab was established to develop and implement a collaborative teaching program and undertake innovative policy and practice relevant housing research informed by the experiences of services users and providers.

>> Click here to find out more about the Unison Housing Research Lab and to access other research reports and Think Pieces.


Share this article