Unison Housing Research Lab

The Unison Housing Research Lab (UHRL), established in 2017, is a unique education and research collaboration between RMIT University and Unison Housing, Victoria’s largest social housing provider to undertake an innovative research and education program informed by the experiences of housing and homelessness service users and providers.

The Lab’s multi-disciplinary research program focuses on creating new empirical and conceptual knowledge about:

  • What actions can be taken to develop social housing that creates vibrant communities, improves tenancy sustainability and satisfaction, and maximises their impact on tenants’ social, economic, and health outcomes;
  • The effectiveness of homelessness program interventions; and
  • Approaches that help translate research into policy and practice.

UHRL research involves an in-depth analysis of administrative data collected by Unison and specific projects developed to address identified needs to drive decision-making and program development.

UHRL delivers an integrated teaching that program that provides RMIT students with Australia’s first dedicated course on homelessness and housing, offering a cutting-edge and multi-disciplinary approach to education that integrates homelessness theory, policy, and practice. The course provides students of social work, youth work and psychology in RMIT’s Social Work and Human Services Cluster, and students in the RMIT School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, with the knowledge and resources to support careers in the homelessness and housing sector.

As housing instability and homelessness affect many areas of a person’s life – employment, personal and family relationships, health and income for example – those in the social work field greatly benefits from an understanding of both an academic, industry and personal experience perspective. The course aims to fill a gap in social work education by offering students the opportunity to experience a broad range of perspectives in the housing and homelessness area including consumers, advocates, managers, workers and researchers.

The lab is focused on contributing to building Australia’s housing research capacity.


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