Ageing well in public housing

Debbie Faulkner, Julia Verdouw, Peta Cook, Selina Tually, Edgar Liu, Bruce Judd, Helen Barrie, Veronica Coram

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


Public housing has long been considered an appropriate option for older lower income households. • Older people comprise a significant proportion of public housing tenants, including more than a third of tenants nationally. • The results of this study, however, suggest that there are systemic issues impacting on whether the sector is an appropriate option for older people at the current time, as well as into the future. • The public housing system is under great pressure and facing multiple challenges. These include demand for housing far exceeding supply, an ageing population, inappropriate and inefficient stock, and increasing complexity in the needs of current and prospective tenants. These pressures are impacting lower income older households and the ability of the system to support an ageing well philosophy. • Older tenants' experiences in public housing are variable. For some tenants, the tenure provides a range of qualities, supports and experiences that they highly value and which promote ageing well. For other tenants, particularly people in less well functioning or disruptive communities (where antisocial behaviour issues are prevalent), their public housing experience has been detrimental to their quality of life. • A number of concerns were raised by the participants in this study that need policy and practice attention to return public housing to a valued housing option for older people, and into a sector where people have confidence that they will be supported to age well. These concerns include recognition of housing as home; building and maintaining functional communities; supporting respect and dignity; minimising vulnerability; promoting access to care; and facilitating equality and equity. Such elements fit with the domains of an ageing well framework. An ageing well framework emphasises the need to support older people's independence, choice, flexibility, healthy lifestyles, ongoing participation and contribution to the community and society. • Public housing authorities (PHAs) hold significant responsibility for the environments in which older tenants live. Being able to live in environments that support and maintain a person's intrinsic capacity and functional ability is seen by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the key to healthy ageing. • A way forward for the public housing sector to better support older tenants to age well could be through a person-centred social landlord model. This would involve formally working in partnership with other providers to better meet the needs and expectations of older tenants, including for ageing well.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVictoria, Australia
Commissioning bodyAustralian Housing and Urban Research Institute
Number of pages136
ISBN (Electronic)1834 7223
ISBN (Print)9781922498366
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAHURI Final Report


  • Public housing
  • Social housing
  • Ageing
  • Ageing in place
  • Older adult
  • Lived experience
  • Social landlord
  • Tenants
  • Home
  • Older


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