Housing and life experiences: making a home on a low income

Document type
Croucher, Karen; Quilgars, Deborah; Dyke, Alison
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Date of publication
30 April 2018
Housing and Homelessness, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion, Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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This report summary reveals the interaction between poverty and housing across the lifecourse. It shows how good and stable housing can mitigate poverty. It also reveals how making and sustaining a home in an increasingly expensive and constrained housing system can be difficult.

Key findings:

  • Current housing systems, and the linked welfare systems, respond poorly to life events such as relationship breakdown and the onset of poor health.
  • Social rented housing at its best provides a secure tenancy in decent housing at an affordable rent, but its potential is undermined by lack of supply, some poor neighbourhoods, and properties which are let in a poor state of decoration and repair.

  • For those on low incomes who are only able to access the lower end of the private rented sector, high housing costs, poor quality housing and/or the precariousness of tenancies, undermine the creation of a home.

  • The extended family (and to a lesser extent, other wider social networks) play a central role in supporting people to make and keep a home.

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