Moving in Together and Breaking Up: Relationship Dynamics, Social Housing and the Housing Pathways of Low-income Australians

By Ilan Vizel and Emily Hunter.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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The formation and breakdown of domestic relationships can have immediate and major housing implications for the parties involved, often involving relocation and subsequent impacts on tenure mobility and affordability. For low-income households, the consequences may be radical. Social housing can help alleviate some of the negative impacts associated with major life changes, such as major illness or changes in family size; yet, in Australia, the social housing system often does not provide the necessary flexibility to respond to the impacts of relationship formations and breakdowns. Utilising David Clapham’s ‘housing pathways’ framework, this paper examines the impact of relationship breakdown and formation on the housing pathways of low-income Australians. We draw on qualitative interviews with sixty social housing tenants in metropolitan and regional locations across Australia.

Keywords: Housing, Social Housing, Housing Mobility, Union Dissolution, Divorce, Poverty

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.163-176. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 763.330KB).

Ilan Vizel

Research Associate, City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Ilan’s academic background is in human geography and urban planning with a Masters in geography from Tel-Aviv University (completed in 2005) and a PhD in urban planning from Melbourne University (completed in 2009). Since 2009, Ilan has been working as a research associate at the City Futures Research Centre at the University of NSW. Ilan’s research addresses questions of social justice and social inclusion and seeks to understand the sources of social disadvantage experienced by marginalised groups such as people with disabilities, low-income households, and undocumented migrants. Much of this work has focused on issues related to housing affordability and accessibility.

Emily Hunter

Research Associate, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Emily Hunter is a social geographer with interests in the nexus between culture, environment and social power. Much of her work has been in community-level resource issues in mainland Southeast Asia. In 2011, Emily assisted on research projects at the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. Emily is currently a research associate at the University of Technology, Sydney on a large research project investigating the cultural practices of cosmetic surgery tourism.