The significance of homelessness is well acknowledged in the world. Of approximately 100,000 homeless people in Australia, families comprised a total of 23,000 people, including 9,543 parents and 13,401 children. This figure rose by 17% on the census night 2006 (ABS, 2008). Although homelessness is associated with a range of health and psychosocial problems, not all homeless persons experience severe problems. The main aim of this qualitative study is to examine factors that protect health and well being of this sub population of the homeless, using Antonovsky’s orientation to life hypothesis.
Results of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions suggest some homeless mothers were more resilient and viewed life in a meaningful and positive way. Factors such as religion/spirituality, community network, family support, employability and past history of addiction were common denominators in those who exhibited stronger coping skills. Recommendations such as engaging and encouraging homeless mothers to take part in activities regulated and organised by the shelters, childminding facilities for mothers to attend courses to prepare for future employment, targeted programs for homeless children attending schools and provision of appropriate and accessible and affordable health