Evaluation of Homelessness Assistance in Lower Austria

Recommendations for the Improvement of Assistance to the Homeless.


Homelessness is a complex problem with many aspects to consider. In addition to visible homelessness, attention must also be paid to those people who can no longer afford their homes, who are threatened with eviction, or who only have the financial means to afford substandard housing. Domestic violence is also a big issue in connection with homelessness: the difficulty of finding their own living space leads to people being unable to change their situation and therefore staying with their violent partner.

Project Content and Goals

With this project, it was determined whether the existing services and measures in the field of homelessness sufficiently cover the specific needs (over- or undersupply, identification of gaps in supply). For this purpose, it was investigated to what extent the services of the different institutions are adapted to different target groups, whether there are problems with capacity, whether or where gaps in services occur and what hurdles those seeking help have to face.


To provide quantifiable statements on how the services of the Lower Austrian homelessness assistance system are used, research on the service structures was conducted and data from official annual statistics as well as from utilisation statistics were collected. In a second step, possible reasons for gaps in services were identified and it was determined whether and to what extent certain services meet their objectives. For this purpose, interviews with practitioners and users were conducted and evaluated. The results of the surveys were then presented and discussed in a stakeholder meeting in order to draw conclusions together with the participants and to come up with ideas for improvements. With the results from these discussions and the insights gained from the surveys, recommendations for improvements could be developed.


With regard to the available results, a few problem areas could be identified. The following recommendations can be derived from this: 

  • It is necessary to standardise the data collection process in order to be able to better estimate future needs. This concerns, among other things, the counting and calculation methods for important key figures and influencing variables (e.g., occupancy rate, socio-economic factors, gender, counting of children). It is recommended to follow the European typology of homelessness and precarious housing supply.
  • Low-threshold services must be expanded. Emergency night shelters and emergency flats, which can also be used for longer periods of time under certain circumstances, should be offered in all regions of Lower Austria.
  • It is recommended to organise disability assistance in a more accessible way and to allow more flexibility in the disability assistance funds. In addition, the institutions concerned with homelessness propose better networking with disability assistance providers.  
  • A central point of contact and a national database (with a map of all relevant facilities and offers) should be established.  
  • The exchange and networking between facilities, interest groups, institutions, and decision-makers should be improved. For this purpose, a networking platform is needed that is equipped with the appropriate resources (which includes disability assistance, child and youth care, and addiction care).
  • An overall strategy to end homelessness must be developed. The currently fragmented services of the Lower Austrian homelessness assistance should be expanded on the basis of internationally recognised principles such as the “Housing First” approach, and socio-political concerns should be linked to measures of the general housing policy.

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Department of Social Sciences
Location: B - Campus-Platz 1
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LR Königsberger Ludwig (Auftraggeber)
10/01/2020 – 08/31/2021
Involved Institutes, Groups and Centers
Ilse Arlt Institute for Social Inclusion Research