Reforming social housing strategy in NSW: evaluating Future Directions

Senior man sitting on the wheelchair alone

Appointed by the NSW Government, CEI is involved in a consortium-led evaluation of the strategy and programs of Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW (Future Directions). The consortium is led by the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research and includes the Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre Australia, RMIT and Monash University

Future Directions is a major reform to the social housing system in NSW. The initiative aims to provide more social housing; more opportunities, support and incentives to avoid and/or leave social housing and a better social housing experience. The complex project is evaluating the Future Directions strategy as a whole, as well as considering three individual programs - Communities Plus, Social Housing Management Transfers, and the Social and Affordable Housing Fund.

The evaluation aims to answer two main questions: (i) has the Future Directions strategy achieved its objectives; and (ii) which Future Direction programs work well, for whom, and under which circumstances. The findings from the evaluation will inform NSW social housing policy and practice decisions, ultimately improving the lives of vulnerable populations across NSW into the future.

In addition, the NSW Department of Family and Community Services seeks to use this study to change the evaluation landscape in NSW by raising expectations in terms of methodological rigour, with a view to improving the quality of evidence used to inform policy and practice decisions within the NSW Government.

The consortium is using an effectiveness-implementation hybrid study for the evaluation. CEI is project managing on behalf of the consortium, and is applying our extensive experience in incorporating a strong implementation outcomes focus on evaluations to lead the implementation evaluation component. The evaluation protocol has recently been published in the University of Edinburgh's open access journal Social Science Protocols.