The Union Housing Research Lab (UHRL) is a unique education and research collaboration between RMIT University and Unison Housing, Victoria’s largest social housing provider.

  • Project dates: 2017

The Union Housing Research Lab (UHRL) is a unique education and research collaboration between RMIT University and Unison Housing, Victoria’s largest social housing provider. The LaB is situated in the Centre for Applied Social Research in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (GUSS). The Lab was established in 2017 and is funded for five years to undertake an innovative research and education program informed by the experiences of service users and providers.

What do we do?

The Lab has two aims:

  1. The Lab’s multi-disciplinary research program is focused on creating new empirical and conceptual knowledge about:
  • What actions can be taken to develop social housing that creates vibrant communities, improves tenancy sustainability and satisfaction, and maximises their impact on tenants’ social, economic, and health outcomes.
  • The effectiveness of homelessness program interventions.
  • Approaches that help translate research into policy and practice.
  1. The Lab will develop and deliver a program of integrated teaching that provides RMIT students with Australia’s first dedicated course on homelessness and housing. The course offers a cutting edge and multi-disciplinary approach to education that integrates homelessness theory, policy, and practice. The course will provide students with the knowledge and resources to support careers in the homelessness and housing sector.

How do we work?

Our work is guided by six principles.

  1. Responsive
  2. Critical
  3. Policy and practice relevant
  4. Excellence
  5. Collaborative
  6. Capacity building

The Lab’s research and education program are undertaken in collaboration with academics who are part of Housing and Homelessness research cluster and other educational institutions, as well as housing and welfare providers and policy makers.

The Lab is focused on contributing to building Australia’s housing research capacity by supporting a team of three PhD students.

The Lab’s team of six oversee work undertaken under three priority research areas.

  1. Sustainability and satisfaction
  2. Program Evaluation
  3. Data-driven decision making.

Key People


Professor Guy Johnson

Professor Guy Johnson


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Dr Juliet Watson

Dr Juliet Watson


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Doctoral candidate

Post Doctoral Research Fellow

External Collaborators

University Partnerships

  • University of Melbourne

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