Gatekeepers, sole mothers and housing in a regional New South Wales shire

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Publication details

Thomas, V, Darab, S & Hartman, Y 2016, 'Gatekeepers, sole mothers and housing in a regional New South Wales shire', Rural Society, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 240-255.

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Contemporary crises of housing affordability have been much discussed. For lowincome families, the scarcity of affordable housing can lead to housing insecurity. While households headed by sole mothers in Australia are among the most economically and socially disadvantaged, Tweed Shire is affected by a range of regional challenges which combine to further preclude low-income sole mothers from accessing affordable housing. Analysis of data collected in a Grounded Theory project investigating the lived-experience of sole mothers contending with precarious housing in Tweed Shire finds there is a crucial gatekeeping process controlling access to housing and related services. Gatekeeping was identified as a recurring theme in interviews. This article examines how gatekeepers exerted control and participant responses. A strong perception of discrimination, along with a loss of autonomy, was found, eliciting disempowerment and resistance. It appears lack of resources in regional areas exacerbate negative aspects of gatekeeping for vulnerable groups.

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