The ABS initiated a methodological review of Professors Chamberlain and MacKenzies' Counting the Homeless (cat. no. 2050.0) by engaging with a range of stakeholders, including researchers and the homelessness services sector, and with the advice of a Steering Committee comprising representatives from the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and from three States (New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia) represented on the inter-jurisdictional Housing and Homelessness Information Management Group (reporting to the Housing Ministers' Advisory Committee).
Following an initiating review workshop on 21 October 2009, with Professors Chamberlain and MacKenzie, and representatives from Homelessness Australia, as well as from Commonwealth, State/Territory and local government organisations, the nature of the ABS’s issues with the Counting the Homeless 2006 methodology were outlined in Issues in estimating the number of homeless in Australia: A paper to inform a review of Counting the Homeless methodology. This paper was made available on the National Homelessness Information Clearinghouse website in October 2009, and submissions were sought. Submissions were received from government organisations, academics and eight homelessness services sector organisations. Workshops to progress the review, which involved Professors Chamberlain and MacKenzie, were held in May 2010 and October 2010.
The ABS's initial findings from the methodological review were published on 31 March 2011 in the Discussion Paper: Methodological Review of Counting the Homeless, 2006 (ABS cat. no. 2050.0.55.001). That Discussion Paper announced a public submissions process and a series of advertised public forums in each capital city. That paper noted the importance of the issue of homelessness for society and governments, and the need for quality data for decision making purposes, particularly for measuring change over time. In that context, the Discussion Paper described a methodology that had been previously used, and proposed a range of methodological changes that would be needed to develop consistent, transparent and repeatable official estimates of the number of people enumerated in the Census who were likely to have been homeless on Census night.