Living on the Margins: Comparing Older Private Renters and Older Public Housing Tenants in Sydney, Australia

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Journal Article
Housing Studies, 2009, 24 (5), pp. 693 - 707
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An increasing number of older Australians are dependent on the private rental market for their accommodation. Through the use of semi-structured in-depth interviews, the life circumstances of older renters (65 plus) in both public housing and private rented accommodation in Sydney are explored and compared. Using Amartya Sen's concepts of capabilities and functionings, the study illustrates that due mainly to lower accommodation costs and greater security of tenure, the public housing tenants interviewed had far greater capability to live a life they valued. In contrast, most interviewees in the private rental market were struggling financially and were extremely anxious about their security of tenure. Their capacity to control their present and their future was very limited.
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