The housing and homelessness journeys of refugees in Australia

Paul Flatau, Jessica Smith, Georgina Carson, Jake Miller, Angela Burvill, Rachael Brand

Research output: Book/ReportOther output


The present three-year research study has furthered our understanding of the housing, neighbourhood and social inclusion experiences of refugees who settle in Australia. The existing literature highlighted the fact that successful resettlement and integration of refugees into a host nation is dependent upon access to appropriate, affordable and secure housing, and establishing a place to call 'home'. This report, the second in the series, has shown that the refugees interviewed as part of the study generally followed a positive housing trajectory in the years immediately following settlement in Australia. Our findings revealed that the majority of respondents resided in private rental accommodation, housing affordability issues reduced over time, a small minority progressed into home ownership and most felt satisfied with the housing they occupied. Selfreported English language proficiency was found to improve over the course of data collection as was employment outcomes. Nevertheless, refugees continue to confront significant barriers to full participation in the housing market and across social, cultural and economic domains in Australia. There is a sizeable group where housing affordability problems remain with one-fifth seeking housing cost relief by placing themselves on the public and community housing waitlists. Employment levels, despite rising solidly following resettlement, remain below those observed in the Australian population. Lack of employment generally prevents movement into home ownership and locks some refugees into chronic housing affordability complications. Disturbingly, refugees experienced higher levels of discrimination in the housing market and elsewhere rather than lower rates over time. Additionally, in our intensive study on refugees who had experienced homelessness in one form or another and had received support from homelessness support agencies, there were alarming housing journeys followed by asylum seekers once temporary support from the Red Cross or elsewhere ended.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
PublisherAustralian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited
ISBN (Print)9781925334135
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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