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Housing, Homelessness and Mental Health

The safety, stability and security that comes from having a home is a fundamental part of leading a contributing life. The intersection between homelessness and mental illness is a key concern for the Commission.

In 2017, the Commission embarked on a period of focused work on the link between homelessness and mental health. This began with a national consultation on housing issues in relation to mental health and culminated in a comprehensive report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI). Going forward, the Commission will continue its support for action, and maintain a focus on monitoring and reporting in this area.

Policy Report

Following a national consultation on housing, homelessness and mental health (see below) the Commission funded AHURI to conduct in-depth research on housing, homelessness and mental health. This work drew on insights from the consultations and involved an extensive review of the published evidence. Two investigative panel sessions were held in 2018 with a range of experts, including people with a lived experience of mental illness and carers of those with such experiences, as well as representatives from peak bodies, service providers, and government agencies. The AHURI report on this research sets out 19 policy options, including actions that can be quickly implemented and collaboration-building activities to drive long-term change.

Housing, homelessness and mental health: towards systems change

Further information on the project can be found on AHURI’s webpage here.


The National Mental Health Commission held a national consultation to build a better understanding of the connection between housing, homelessness and mental health. 

Our consultation included national Housing, Homelessness and Mental Health workshops and an online survey, to gather feedback from stakeholders about key issues and gaps for people with lived experience of mental illness when they attempt to secure housing. 

The Commission has analysed all of the information from the workshops and online submissions. Key findings are in the report Housing, Homelessness, and Mental Health: outcomes from the National Mental Health Commission’s consultation in 2017.

Click the links on the interactive map of Australia below to view the reports from each Workshop.

Workshop attendees shared their viewpoints on the following issues:

  • The success factors of programs already in place which are effective
  • How to increase housing supply for those with a mental illness
  • How to provide more housing choice
  • What data should be collected to monitor the effectiveness of systems which help people with a mental illness find a home
  • Workshop participants suggested focus areas: Key policy issues and research which need to be addressed.

The Workshops reflected a cross-sectoral, collaborative approach at both a national and a jurisdictional level and brought together a diverse range of stakeholders, such as, community sector, people with lived experience, peak bodies, government departments and state mental health commissions.

Online community consultation

In addition to the Workshops, the Commission also conducted a community online consultation. Consumers, carers, families and support people were invited to share housing and homelessness experiences in relation to mental health. The survey was promoted through established networks and social media.


Focus paper: The Commission developed, with the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), a focused issues paper with some key questions discussed at the Workshops and the online survey.


Professor Allan Fels, Chair, National Mental Health Commission welcomes attendees to the Housing, Homelessness and Mental Health Workshops


Professor Allan Fels, Chair, National Mental Health Commission and guests provide an overview of the Workshops and their purpose.

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