Why do some disadvantaged Australian families become homeless? Resources, disadvantage, housing and welfare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Homeless families include children whose experiences of homelessness and extreme poverty can have long-term negative impacts over the life course. This paper proposes a resource-orientated causal explanation of the mechanisms of family homelessness in Australia. Given the critical role of poverty in housing insecurity, the model explains why some families living in extreme poverty and disadvantage become homeless and others do not. The research is positioned within a critical realist approach to theoretical causal explanation. It is influenced by interdisciplinary literature and psychologist Hobfoll’s Conservation of Resources theory. Previously published empirical analysis informs and supports the development of this theoretical model. Families use their resources to mitigate challenges to their housing security. However, disadvantage limits their accumulation of resources, contributes to accelerating resource loss, and constrains their capacity to act. An acute lack of affordable housing and insufficient welfare payments to secure private rental accommodation severely impacts a family’s capacity to navigate crises and avoid homelessness.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalHousing Studies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • family
  • disadvantage
  • critical realism

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