This research aims to build knowledge about people missing out on housing: how many are affected, who are they, what are their experiences; and how to define severe housing deprivation (homelessness).

Our research in this area includes:

  • Defining and measuring severe housing deprivation
  • The experiences of people living in boarding houses
  • The experiences of people living in camping grounds

Boarding Houses

“Anyone can live in a boarding house, can’t they?” The advantages and disadvantages of boarding houses

Clare Aspinall

This masters thesis explores the experiences of boarding house residents, managers and landlords, and people providing health support to boarding house residents. The keys findings are that there are a wide range of boarding houses, but some have very poor physical standards, unsafe social environments, and poor management practices. Enforcement of building regulation needs to be proactive, and stronger tenancy rights for boarders are needed. Landlords and managers that house vulnerable boarders also need better support. However, it is clear that vulnerability makes boarding houses very unsuitable for some. An increase in affordable, quality housing that vulnerable people can access is needed.

Media coverage: Homeless languish in rundown boarding houses

Read Clare’s thesis here

Camping Grounds

Marginally grounded: Camping ground residence in New Zealand

Chrissy Severinsen

This PhD thesis explores the experiences of camping ground residents, and their pathways into camping ground residence. The key findings are that living in a camping ground has both positive and detrimental aspects. On one hand, it offers opportunities to develop social networks and place attachment; but on the other, residents may be vulnerable, socially excluded, and living in poor quality, insecure housing.

Some people are living in camping grounds because they have no other options, especially people with low incomes. People are also discharged to them from prisons and mental health units. These vulnerable people should be able to access more secure, stable housing. Housing provision must be regulated and provided for at local and central government levels. Necessary actions include increasing the supply of affordable housing, investing in low-cost housing and emergency accommodation, and safe-guarding housing rights.

Severinsen Pathway PHA Conference 2013 Presentation

Read Chrissy’s thesis here