Understanding housing precarity: more than access to a shelter, housing is essential for a decent life

Finnerty & O’Connell’s (2017) 'Changing Precarities in the Irish housing system: supplier-generated changes in security of tenure for domiciled households' is a careful analysis of changing Irish housing policy settings in recent decades, that sheds rare light on the specific policy mechanisms which increasing housing precarity. While examining the Irish system specifically, the observation of policies directly affecting housing precarity reflects a global trend which is both worrying and drives us to consider its long-term consequences and remedies. This paper address some issues raised by Finnerty and O’Connell’s analysis: In what other locations does housing precarity exist and within the housing precariat, who are the most vulnerable? If certain policies cause housing precarity to be worsened, what are the possible effects this? What might be the opposite of housing precarity, what policies could lead to this, and what evidence is there for their efficacy? In Australia an emerging vulnerable category is older women, now recognised as being increasingly at risk of homelessness. As women age and some become single–through widowhood, or separation and divorce–their previous two-income household is lost, and increasing numbers of women find that they can not afford private rental or mortgage payments on a single income.