Journeys Home Survey
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?
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 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.
Researchers based at an Australia institution will receive:
- the majority of the survey data (some variables, such as location, industry and debt, are confidentialised)
- selected variables derived from RED equivalent to questions asked in the income section of the survey, and
- selected variables derived from RED relating to the time spent on income support.
Researchers applying from international institutions will receive the majority of the Journeys Home dataset, as well as data on the total income* of respondents.
Overseas applicants should note that the dataset does not include any variables specifically related to the receipt of income support payments or any variables derived from RED. This decision is the result of legal requirements determined by the Commonwealth.
* Total income is determined by adding the following components:
- earnings from work
- other income sources
- income support, and
- family tax benefits.
The Limited Release includes all general release data (excluding variables derived from RED), and additional unconfidentialised variables, including:
- location at SA1 level
- the full set of children information, and
- all data items on debt.
Users of the Limited Release dataset must demonstrate that they can meet the security requirements outlined in the fact sheets below, while also justifying their need for data at this detailed level.
The Limited Release does not include any variables specifically related to the receipt of income support payments, nor does it include any variables derived from RED.
This release contains the full set of Journeys Home data. It provides:
- all limited release data
- variables derived from RED equivalent to questions asked in the income section of the survey
- variables derived from RED relating to the time spent on income support, and
- variables derived from RED relating to suspensions, marital status and income.
Users of the Limited+RED Release dataset must demonstrate that they can meet the security requirements outlined in the fact sheets below, while also justifying their need for data at this detailed level and their need for access to RED-derived data.
For more information about the application process or costs involved, please contact JH@dss.gov.au.
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 (jh_hhmlsrp2.sas) and Stata (jh_hhmlsrp2.do) 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.
- 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;
- 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
- 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.
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.
Version 6.0.2, for Data Release 201412.1