Home Research ‘A pathway to where?’ Inquiry into understanding and reimagining social housing pathways
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‘A pathway to where?’ Inquiry into understanding and reimagining social housing pathways


Muir, K., Powell, A., Flanagan, K., Stone, W., Tually, S., Faulkner, D., Hartley, C., Pawson, H.


This study investigated how social housing pathways are conceptualised and constructed by housing policies in Australia; who is moving into and out of social housing; and what is the lived experience of people who have moved into, within or out of social housing.

Social housing pathways are the housing experiences of tenants and their households over time and space. These pathways are not linear and also include changes in tenure, household form, experiences and attachment to social housing.

Policy implementation has largely been driven by a need to manage the social housing waiting list, rather than ensuring positive housing outcomes (such as housing stability, affordability, security and safety) for tenants and their households.

Policies affecting entry into, movement within and out of social housing are predominantly shaped by eligibility criteria and increased prioritisation of people with complex needs. Social housing policies largely imply a throughput pathway

Flanagan, Levin et al. (2020) note a tenant perspective of pathways is missing from current evidence, as is holistic, longitudinal and cross-tenure/assistance views of social housing pathways in the context of housing assistance (public housing, community housing, private rental assistance). Future optimal policy development requires clear, longitudinal evidence on (i) how we might understand social housing pathways within a changed housing policy and housing assistance context, and (ii) how policy innovation might best support improved social housing pathways.

This evidence needs to include a systemic response, which considers, for example, variable regulatory frameworks across state/territory jurisdictions; demographic, economic and local area contexts; and conditions in the wider housing market.

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