100 Families WA is a collective action research project with a vision to address the issue of entrenched disadvantage or hardship, as experienced by families living in Western Australia (WA).

This wicked problem is agreed to be complex and beyond the scope of any one agency to impact upon significantly. This is the reason that the ten partner organisations involved have joined forces and are working towards a broad set of objectives to achieve a common goal of reducing entrenched disadvantage in WA.

The project is unique as it is based on a deep collaboration between eight not-for-profit organisations from the community service sector and the University of Western Australia. There is also an ongoing commitment to engage and work alongside individuals who hold lived experiences of hardship to help guide project practice.

By conducting this research, 100 Families WA aims to gain a deep understanding of entrenched disadvantage in Western Australia through investigation of lived experience.

In broad terms, the project will address the following questions:

  • What are the lived experiences of families experiencing entrenched disadvantage?
  • Why is it so hard to break through entrenched disadvantage?
  • What are the impacts of current policy settings and agency practices for families in entrenched disadvantage?
  • What positive and negative impacts does prevailing practice and policy have on breaking the cycle of disadvantage?
  • What policies and practice are working and what activities should be expanded?

Data will be collected from over 400 families over a three-year period. Collection methods include a longitudinal survey administered on an annual basis as well as fortnightly interviews alongside participant families for a 12-month period.

This project was inspired by the Auckland City Mission project and is funded by Lottery West.

Statement of Purpose

Working together to reduce hardship and disadvantage for families living in Western Australia through action research



An economically, socially and culturally just WA where all families are supported to thrive

Entrenched disadvantage is a wicked problem that impacts our community and support systems in a variety of ways. So that the project can benefit from the knowledge, information and advice held within our community, 100 Families WA is engaging key stakeholders on a regular and ongoing basis.

Stakeholders working alongside this project come from a range of backgrounds and offer unique advice from their own perspectives. Stakeholders include government officials, heads of not-for-profit organisations, and experts by lived experience. This range of diversity ensures the project is well-informed and well balanced, acting sensitively and responsibly to the various ways entrenched disadvantage can interact and intersect with our community support systems.

The below sections offers further information on the stakeholders and their involvement within the project.

What is entrenched disadvantage?

Disadvantage or hardship can be understood as the coming together of issues including; poverty, the inability to afford basic essentials of life, and being unable to fully participate in everyday activities within a community. Entrenched disadvantage is the persistence of disadvantage for many years, and in some cases, over multiple generations. Living in entrenched disadvantage can have a detrimental impact on individuals’ well-being, their families and local communities.

What do you mean by ‘family’?

In the case of this project, family is a flexible term that is defined by the person themselves. This means that while many of the families involved in this project do have partners and children, some do not. The project wishes to be inclusive and not exclude anyone who considers themselves to be a family, whatever shape this takes.

How are you collecting data?

Participation in 100 Families WA happens in several ways. The main data collection streams are; a longitudinal survey over three years (four surveys in total), and the completion of an in-depth interview every fortnight for a year. The purpose of this mixed methods approach is to support a deep understanding on what families are experiencing day-to-day and over time.

To ensure the research journey itself is explored and recorded, the 100 Families WA team also collects data from other sources. This includes reflections from internal project staff and stakeholders, as well as feedback and comments of interest collected from the Community Advisory Group and Reference Advisory Group.

For further information, please go to the Project Details tab on the About page of this website.

How is this project funded?

The project has received $1.75m grant from Lottery west to support the first two years of the project. All project partners contribute a significant amount of in-kind resource to the project to further support its implementation. Additional funding is being sought to support later stages of the project as well as project expansion to a regional site.

What will you do with the evidence you produce?

100 Families WA is committed to improving outcomes for low income individuals, communities and families, particularly those experiencing social exclusion and entrenched disadvantage.

With the evidence collected, the project aims to provide the policy, practice and research community with a deep understanding of entrenched disadvantage, poverty and social exclusion in Western Australia. We further aim to find out what the barriers, challenges and facilitators are that people encounter when attempting to exit disadvantage, and the impact of services and programs in breaking the cycle of disadvantage.

Can I participant in 100 Families WA?

As we have reached our target of 400 families, at this time we are not recruiting anymore families.