National Homelessness Clearinghouse: Supporting Fathers Who Are Homeless

FaHCSIA 3 The Australian Homelessness Clearinghouse is administered by FaHCSIA. Currently little is known about the experience of single fathers who are homeless and their families. Even less is known about their experience of homelessness services and how these services respond to their needs, particularly their needs in relation to their parenting role.

"Connections between a father and their children remain an essential part of health and transition out of homelessness..."
This resource examined the effects on homelessness of single fathers, how services provided for this group and what the interactions between homeless single fathers, their children and homelessness services entailed.

The report shows a number of gaps in the abilities of service providers to fully consider what homeless single fathers who have children actually need and what impacts this context has on transitioning out of being homeless.

Key Findings

Several important findings have emerged from this report which are often out of the scope of consideration of services, which despite their best efforts sometimes miss important considerations or make standard assumptions about the needs of fathers who present at their services.

  • The pathways that lead this population to being homeless involve complex interactions and declines in family relationships, occupations, housing and associated connections. For men, separation normally acts as the precursor to being homeless from which eviction and employment loss often follow.

  • Services are often geared up to provide for single mothers or single fathers and cope less well with fathers who have children with them or who wish to maintain the kinds of connections with their children that would enable them to maintain their mental wellbeing.

  • The connection between fathering and contact with one's children, and impacts on attaining or maintaining health and wellbeing is only slowly being realised by some services. A key factor in transitioning back to stable housing is that of contact with one's children - so the emphasis on maintaining these connections provides motivation and support for homeless fathers.

  • Fathers who present for services can still be subject to erroneous assumptions that reduce their confidence and ability to effectively parent their children. These assumptions can further restrict homeless fathers' ability to improvide their situation and also act as reinforcing effects in services that continue to expect low outcomes from homeless men.

Resources Available

Related Links

Contact Information

FaHCSIA Contact

Tuggeranong Office Park 
Soward Way (cnr Athllon Drive) Greenway, Australian Capital Territory 2900

Telephone: 1300 653 227