Worklessness, welfare and social housing

Residents of social housing face considerable disadvantages in the labour market. They are less likely to be in work than those living in other tenures, more likely to be living in poverty, and more likely to be disadvantaged through a low qualifications, a health condition, caring responsibilities or other barriers. In recent years, supporting residents to prepare for and find work has been an increasing priority – for government, local services and landlords themselves. However, there is relatively little current analysis of the characteristics of residents, the barriers that they face and ‘what works’ in supporting them.

This research, for the National Housing Federation, seeks to address these gaps. It does so by:


  • Mapping the nature and extent of ‘worklessness’ and disadvantage amongst tenants of social housing;
  • Developing a new segmentation of the population of social housing tenants who are out of work, so as to better understand their needs – through grouping tenants together according to their characteristics and then analysing their barriers to work;
  • Identifying what may work in supporting those identified groups to prepare for, find and keep sustained employment; and
  • Making costed proposals for interventions and approaches that would help to tackle worklessness.

The report is underpinned by new analysis of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and of benefits data, alongside findings from 37 in-depth qualitative interviews with housing association tenants and extensive review of the literature around ‘what works’ in supporting different groups to find and keep employment.