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

Karen Croucher, Deborah Quilgars and Alison Dyke

This report provides a detailed analysis of the interaction between poverty and housing across the lifecourse. It shows how good and stable housing can mitigate poverty, and the difficulties in trying to make and sustain a home in an increasingly expensive and constrained housing system.

It finds that:

  • 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.

Based on this report, JRF commissioned a piece of policy development work which includes four summaries on key areas. These are available to download in the related content section below. 

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