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The overarching research question of National Research Venture 1 (NRV1) is:

How do housing assistance programs impact economic participation outcomes, once we control for the mediating effects that intermediary variables such as ‘health’ and ‘neighbourhood’ have on economic participation outcomes?

The potential employment impacts of the two key housing assistance (HA) programs − public housing and Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) − are investigated using a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches. In addition, policy simulations are conducted using the AHURI-3M microsimulation model and econometric models that shed light on how policy reform measures might impact economic participation behaviour. Since 1982 the role of public housing has changed from a tenure offering working families affordable housing opportunities to a residual sector that targets HA on those with the greatest need. There has then been a marked change with working age public housing renters increasingly drawn from the ranks of those whose employment prospects are relatively poor. This increasingly stringent targeting is an important factor in explaining the deteriorating employment participation rates of male tenants. However, our modelling of employment trends indicates that female tenants are more employable now than 20 years ago, yet their actual employment participation rates have not changed.

This report was written by Alfred Michael Dockery, Simon Feeny, Kath Hulse, Rachel Ong, Lise Saugeres, Heath Spong, Stephen Whelan and Gavin Wood

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