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Seminar | Evaluation of Housing Policy and Programs

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Date: Tuesday 12 February 2019
Venue: Centre for Urban Transitions Level 1, EW Building Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn

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This seminar focuses on measuring the impact of housing policy and programs. The seminar sets out to address frequently overlooked issues in common evaluation approaches – in particular the central role of values and of who defines them. Rather than being a review of any particular policy or practice, the seminar aims to dig deeper by asking ‘how we should evaluate housing outcomes?’ The seminar focuses on the values that underpin evaluation, no evaluation is ‘neutral’ or ‘value free’, which raises important question of who defines these values and decides on the resultant evaluation criteria to be used? A second focus is on the ethical considerations underpinning a range of evaluation metrics. A case is then made for evaluating housing outcomes on the basis of housing capabilities: the effective opportunities that people have in the homes and neighbourhoods to do and feel the things they have reason to value. So far as possible, then, defining success should be from the bottom up through a process of deliberative democratic reasoning. The role of the expert should be to facilitate and inform this process, and to translate the outputs into an evaluative framework that is practical.

In addressing these fundamental issues, the seminar also seek to inform other more specific questions raised by policymakers, practitioners and residents in relation to the evaluation of housing outcomes. What would a 'fixed' housing market look like? How should we define housing-related poverty? How should we evaluate whether a policy/regeneration scheme has been successful? How should we measure social impact or social value?

The seminar concludes with some implications for policy and practice. Examples are given of what this general approach could look like in practice to aid housing organisations and government in devising the processes that are best suited to fit their particular circumstances.

Contact Information: Mrs Grace Lee
Email: glee@swinburne.edu.au Tel: 03 9214 5286