Deakin University

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Experiences of homelessness by people seeking asylum in Australia: a review of published and “grey” literature

journal contribution
posted on 2019-12-16, 00:00 authored by D Smith, Fiona McKayFiona McKay, Kehla LippiKehla Lippi
This review examines the current published and “grey” literature relating to the experiences of homelessness by people seeking asylum within Australia. While many people seeking asylum have experienced homelessness during their flight, inadequate and unaffordable housing are a feature of the settlement experience for a large number of new arrivals to Australia, putting at risk their successful settlement. This study aims to explore the factors influencing access to stable housing. A systematic review of the academic literature and a search of the grey literature identified 11 articles and 20 documents related to homelessness and people seeking asylum in Australia. The academic literature included a variety of methods and approaches to the investigation of the experience of homelessness in Australia. The grey literature was more practice based, including evaluation and research reports, submissions, and newsletters. Findings suggest that experiences of homelessness are multifaceted and have a range of influences, including policy, financial stress, lack of access to education and employment, and a lack of affordable and suitable housing. Any solutions to address homelessness need to be similarly diverse. Discrimination from real estate agents and employers was also identified as a barrier to housing for many people seeking asylum, an issue that will need to be addressed at a systematic level. The lack of research published in the academic literature means that although there may be some programmes or solutions operating in the community, as demonstrated in the grey literature, this information is not being shared beyond organisation websites or subscriber lists, resulting in a lack of coherency or sharing of solutions. This review highlights the need for further attention to the factors influencing homelessness in asylum seekers, the experience of homelessness, and how these can be addressed by government and non-government led strategies and policy development.



Social policy and administration


1 - 19


John Wiley & Sons


Chichester, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal