Employing Public Housing Tenants – Another Myth Bites The Dust

UK unemployment photo by UKecongraphsup is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
A researcher in England reports comparable unemployment rates between social housing tenants and the rest of the country's population.

Here is groundbreaking research about tenants who live in social housing that deserves more attention. It challenges the notion that people who live in social housing are less motivated to seek work and more likely to be unemployed than people who live in the private rental sector or own homes.

Are social housing tenants unemployable? Lindsey Judge, Director of Research at the Resolution Foundation in London England decided to check the data. Judge found that people who live in social housing in the United Kingdom are very similar to their counterparts in ownership and private rental housing. She reached this conclusion after levelling the playing field and comparing people with similar social and demographic characteristics in the three different types of housing. These findings are available from the Resolution Foundation: Social renting: a working hypothesis

Judge’s findings, published in 2019, challenge a commonly held idea that living in social housing deters people from finding work. Her report caught the attention of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Social Mobility (APPG). Despite the complications of COVID, the APPG initiated an inquiry into employment in social housing. The results have just been published.

The inquiry started with a review of evidence in the existing literature and gathered input from housing groups, groups providing employment supports and social housing tenants. One conclusion is that far from being a deterrent to employment, social housing actually enables its tenants to complete training, and to find and keep work. The report includes recommendations are intended to build on the results of the remarkable achievements that were reported during the inquiry. These findings are available from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Social Mobility: Improving Opportunities: How to support social housing tenants into sustainable employment

Judge’s report offers a methodology for researchers investigating social housing and employment issues in other countries. For policy analysts and decision makers, the APPG report demonstrates how using evidence and best practices can challenge ideas about social housing and employment in a political environment. The APPG report will also be helpful to housing and service providers that are looking for program approaches with a demonstrated track record, along with the reporting frameworks and metrics to provide evidence of success.

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