The social worlds of older public and private renters

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Conference Proceeding
TASA 2010 Proceedings, 2010, pp. 1 - 12
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This paper explores the social worlds of older private and public renters in Sydney, Australia. Drawing on 56 in-depth interviews, it argues that the cost of accommodation and security of tenure played a pivotal role in shaping the social connections and leisure activity of the interviewees. It illustrates that in the case of the older renters interviewed who were dependent on the private rental market their minimal disposable income and constant anxiety around their tenure, meant that many could not afford to engage in leisure activities and did not have the desire or emotional capacity to do so. Many were isolated as a result. The older public housing interviewees, in contrast, because of their strong security of tenure, longevity of residence, low rents and the social composition of their accommodation had the desire, capacity and opportunity to engage in a range of pursuits and sustain strong social ties in the neighbourhood. The study suggests that providing affordable and secure housing can play a pivotal role in enhancing the capacity of older people to have strong social ties and engage in activities in and outside the neighbourhood.
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