Moving home: the experience of precarious housing

Dr Emma Power1

1Western Sydney University, Penrith, Australia


Growing numbers of older people face ongoing residential moves due to economic disadvantage and housing precarity. For these people moving house can be a regular and ongoing experience that is both involuntary and unexpected. They do not move once and settle into a new home (as is common amongst those moving for health or lifestyle needs), but instead endure ongoing moves due to factors that include housing affordability and tenure conditions. Existing research identifies feelings of housing and ontological insecurity amongst this group. However, little is known of how people living in precarious housing negotiate the process of moving house. The purpose of this paper is to examine the experience of mobility-based disadvantage in older age. It considers housing mobility across two frames: first, moving from one residence to another, and second, housing mobility as a cumulative or ongoing experience. The paper considers how housing mobility is negotiated economically (the costs of moving house), materially/ practically (the process of moving from one place to another), physically (the embodied experience) and affectively (how housing mobility is understood and felt) through the experiences of 46 single, asset and income poor older women living in the greater Sydney region, Australia.


Emma Power is a Senior Research Fellow in Geography and Urban Studies at Western Sydney University.

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