Journeys Home Survey

Research aims

Journeys Home aimed to address a number of questions related to homelessness and housing insecurity in Australia. These questions included:

  • What characteristics are associated with people identified as facing living and housing challenges?
  • What is the length of time that people in the sample experience being unable to secure adequate housing?
  • What social, economic and health factors are associated with stability/instability in housing tenancy or occupancy, including over time?
  • What characteristics distinguish families that are able to maintain stable housing from those that cannot not?
  • What are the protective services, including familial and psychosocial factors, which help maintain stable living and housing?
  • What role do geographical factors have on living and housing stability?
  • What are the key intervention points that help individuals facing living and housing challenges maintain stable housing and prevent chronic housing instability?
  • What are the social, economic and health outcomes of people experiencing housing instability?
  • What are the personal factors, family characteristics and other situational factors that either exacerbate or ameliorate these longitudinal outcomes?

Technical expertise

Expert advice on the construction of survey instruments, sampling strategies and datasets was provided by a Technical Reference Group (TRG), which consisted of leading researchers from disciplines including housing, social inclusion, mental health, statistics and service provision.

The overall progress of Journeys Home was guided by representatives from the Department of Social Services, the Melbourne Institute and members of the TRG.

Accessing Journeys Home Survey data

Journeys Home is a unique source of longitudinal data that documents the diverse economic, social and personal factors related to housing stability and homelessness.

This data, covering all six waves of fieldwork, is available to researchers based at Australian or international institutions.

Data releases

Data from the Journeys Home Survey is available for purchase under individual licensing arrangements with the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services.

Four different data releases are available, depending on your research requirements and location. These releases are General, Overseas, Limited and Limited+RED.

For more information about the data releases, application process or costs involved, please refer to Ordering Journeys Home Survey data.

Survey Documents

Annotated questionnaires, brochures and other fieldwork materials are available from the Survey Documents section.

Known Data Issues

Please refer to Section 2 of the Journeys Home User Manual for information on all known data issues and revisions made to the release files prior to November 2014.

Correction to HHMLSRP derived variable

The Journeys Home research team at the Melbourne Institute has found a programming error for the derived variable HHMLSRP (‘Experienced homelessness in the reference period’) in the Journeys Home data sets. The specification for HHMLSRP includes short-term accommodations with friends, family, or other relatives as a form of homelessness. In constructing the variable, the lengths of stay in some accommodations were miscalculated, leading to some short stays with friends, family, or other relatives being treated as long stays and some long stays being treated as short stays. There was also an error in the way that incomplete responses were treated. Altogether, 8 percent of the values for HHMLSRP were incorrectly assigned.

The Melbourne Institute has written programs in SAS ( and Stata ( to produce a corrected variable and add it to the JH data sets. Licensed data users can run the programs on the original data (version 201412.1). More information about the problem, correction, and programs is available in HHMLSRP_Revision.pdf.

Program Library

The Melbourne Institute has developed programs to create data files (based on housing calendar data) that can be used in alternative types of event history analysis. The licensed data users can run the program (either in SAS or STATA) on the original data (version 201412.1) provided by Journeys Home team to create the following three data files:

  1. ACCSPELL, a file with spell-level observations that can be used in descriptive event-history analyses or in multivariate event-history analyses with fixed (non-time-varying) covariates;
  2. ACCWSPELL, a file with wave-within-spell-level observations that can be used in continuous-time event-history analyses with covariates that are fixed within waves but might vary across waves; and
  3. ACC3SPELL, a file with third-of-a-month-within-spell-level observations that can be used in discrete-time event-history analyses with covariates that might vary by third-of-a month (10-11-day) intervals.

For further details, please see the event history file documentation.

User Manual

Researchers working with Journeys Home Survey data should consult the User Manual for information on topics, including:

  • data conventions
  • derived variables
  • sampling methods
  • weights, and
  • data and documentation issues.

Journeys Home User Manual

Version 6.0.2, for Data Release 201412.1