Evaluation of the Social Housing Advocacy and Support Program (SHASP)

Project Type - Public health


The Social Housing Advocacy and Support Program (hereto referred to as SHASP) is a Victorian government regionally based initiative to achieve improved housing outcomes for social housing tenants and public housing applicants, forming part of the government’s ongoing commitment to sustainable tenancies.

SHASP aims to achieve improved housing outcomes through:

  • Improved entrances into public housing from the homelessness systems.
  • Reduced exits from social housing into the homelessness service system.
  • Reduced rental arrears.

The objectives of the review as defined by the Department were to determine:

  • whether SHASP providers have achieved the targets across the program but in particular for the advocacy, establishing tenancies and intervention at risk tenancies components of the program.
    • the effectiveness of the assistance provided by SHASP (in the context of other environmental factors impacting on tenancy) in the form of : 
    • Increases in sustained tenancies
    • Reduction in arrears, evictions, etc
    • Reductions in anti-social behaviour, complaints etc
    • Improved outcomes for the Department and tenants of those who follow a referral to SHASP support and those that do not (longer term)
  • areas for improvement in the program as a whole to assist decision making on the future development of the program particularly in sustaining tenancies.
  • the capacity of the program model as structured to achieve program goals at a regional level.

The evaluation design employed a combined quantitative and qualitative methodological approach. The quantitative approach accessed data collected by the Department and allowed for systematic coverage of the relevant stakeholder groups and standardized comparison of data.  Complementing this, a qualitative approach enabled in-depth exploration and probing of the attitudes and beliefs underlying the views, understanding and experiences of the stakeholder groups.

The key components of HOI’s methodological approach included:

  • Comprehensive environmental analysis to inform the preliminary consultations and the development of the evaluation methodology
  • Extensive stakeholder engagement, including
    • the administration of an online survey questionnaire to all SHASP providers, 
    • follow-up visits to five SHASP providers (including consultations with SHASP staff, regional housing office staff, supporting agencies/services and tenants) 
    • preliminary review of quantitative data on regional activities by SHASP providers.
  • a detailed synthesis and analysis of information obtained from the SHASP survey questionnaire, the case study visits, central office consultations and review of the SHASP regional activity data so as to answer the evaluation objectives.


HOI produced a comprehensive and evidence based final report, providing an analysis of findings with regard to:

  • program targets
  • effectiveness of the program
  • capacity to achieve program goals
  • effectiveness of the working relationship between the department’s regional housing offices and the shasp providers