Report Housing assistance and policy Non shelter outcomes Social and affordable housing

Social housing pathways by policy co-design: opportunities for tenant participation in system innovation in Australia

Final Report No. 418

Date Published: 18 Apr 2024

Authors: Wendy Stone Piret Veeroja Zoë Goodall Ella Horton Cameron Duff

This AHURI research examines the participation of social housing tenants in developing social housing policy. With tenants increasingly presenting with more complex health, housing and social care needs, developing ways they can participate in social housing policy can lead to a range of positive benefits: from improving the way housing and associated essential social services are provided to giving tenants a heightened sense of autonomy and a stronger sense of belonging within their communities.

The guiding principle for tenant participation is that those most affected by a policy or organisational decision ought to be involved in the decision making process. Internationally there is a relatively well-established understanding that complex systems, such as social housing systems, require the viewpoints of multiple stakeholders and that evidence-based policy making is best supported by including diverse voices such as lived experience experts and advocates.

Successful tenant programs include understanding that tenants and housing providers can have different ideas of what participation should look like and what it should achieve; programs can be compromised by power imbalances between tenants and housing providers, which can limit tenant autonomy and also lead to conflict.

For policy co-design to work well, there must be respect and recognition of the expertise of all participants involved in the policy making process, which may require workforce training and changing cultural norms.

The research proposes sharing of best-practice examples of tenant participation and program practice guidelines between housing organisations and across sectors through a new Australian Housing Clearinghouse model.

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri5131101

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-922498-86-1


Stone, W., Veeroja, P., Goodall, Z., Horton, E., Duff, C.(2024) Social housing pathways by policy co-design: opportunities for tenant participation in system innovation in Australia, AHURI Final Report No. 418, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne,, doi: 10.18408/ahuri5131101.

Stone, Wendy
Veeroja, Piret
Goodall, Zoë
Horton, Ella
Duff, Cameron