Moving into social housing not smooth for all, research shows

A new research report produced by RMIT and Unison Housing shows that the transition into social housing can be precarious for some people, with 43% of tenants exiting their social housing within 18 months.

‘Who stays, and who leaves social housing, and why?’ is the second report produced by Unison Housing Research Lab, a collaborative partnership between RMIT and Unison Housing, Victoria’s largest social housing provider. The researchers examined the records of 967 social housing tenants and found that a large number experienced tenancy breakdown within 18 months of being housed, because they struggled to 'settle in'.

The report, launched recently in Melbourne, finds that certain groups of people are more vulnerable to losing their social housing; Indigenous households, young people and people who've previously experienced homelessness.


Unison Housing CEO, Ed Holmes, said that the report provided many important learnings for governments and social housing providers.

‘This research tells us that providing the housing is only part of the response to homelessness.  Helping people settle in, and make that housing into a home is equally important. It takes so much more than just giving them the key, especially when dealing with people who have multiple challenges to sustain tenancies.’

‘Understanding the policy context is critical, too. As social housing stock has declined in Australia, housing providers are increasingly focussing on housing only the most needy and disadvantaged people in our community, which are also the people who are most likely to experience tenancy breakdown,’ said Mr Holmes.

The launch was well attended by housing agencies and government “day to day” workers and management, interested in the research which clearly identifies that support is a critical component in assisting vulnerable people maintain stable housing, make their house a home and become connected with their community.

Unison and the Research Lab team are keen to continue to work with housing sector partners to develop a support model underpinned by this research.

Read the full report here and the media release here.

Media generated as a result of the Report launch included

ABC 774 Mornings - Jon Faine interviews Dr Juliet Watson and Frank Otis (interview starts at 52 mins 30 secs)

Probono News Vulnerable people need greater social housing support

RRR radio Breakfasters (fast forward to 1hr45mins) to hear Sue McCallum interview

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