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Dr Sean McNelis

Adjunct Research Fellow
PhD, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia; Master of Arts (Research) , Swinburne University of Technology, Australia; Bachelor of Theology , Melbourne College of Divinity, Australia; Bachelor of Arts (Honours), La Trobe University, Australia


Sean has over 30 years experience in housing management, housing policy and housing research.

In the 1980s, he worked as a housing manager living on a high-rise public housing estate in Melbourne and as a community development worker managing and developing different types of housing organisations (emergency housing services, housing information and referral services, housing co-operatives and tenant organisations). Sean was also a founding member, director and tenant of a small housing co-operative.

In the 1990s, as a housing policy worker with the Victorian Council of Social Service (the peak community organisation in Victoria -, he analysed Australian and Victorian government housing policy and was in the forefront of community organisations advocating for better housing policies and developing infrastructure for the newly emerging community housing sector in Australia.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he worked as a researcher with Ecumenical Housing, a small but nationally influential community housing organisation that provided social housing and advocated for better housing policy.

Sean has been at Swinburne University of Technology since 2002. He is currently an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre for Urban Transitions. Prior to this he worked as a housing researcher and also completed his doctorate. He has undertaken a range of research projects for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) (, for local government and for other organisations. He is the manager of the Housing in Victoria website (, an interactive website which provides data on housing and housing affordability at different geographical levels. His research has included:
* Older persons in public housing
* Rental systems in social housing, both in Australia and overseas
* Independent living units for older persons with low assets and low incomes, and
* Local government housing strategies.

In recent years, his work has focused on two questions: what are we doing when we are doing housing research and policy? how do we make progress in housing? He is particularly interested in the ground breaking work of the Canadian methodologist, philosopher, theologian and economist, Bernard Lonergan (1904-1984).

Research interests

Housing and Urban Studies; Philosophy; Sociology; Functional collaboration

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Fields of Research

  • Policy And Administration - 440700
  • Sociology - 441000

Teaching areas



Also published as: McNelis, Sean; McNelis, S.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2023: A fair rent? *; Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Fund Scheme
  • 2020: Developing an Australian Social Housing Advanced Asset Management Framework *; Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Fund Scheme
  • 2018: Redesign of a homelessness services system for young people *; AHURI National Housing Research Program - Research Projects
  • 2013: YMCA Community Housing Supported Lodging Feasibility Study *; YMCA
  • 2012: Short Research Project on Prospective Intergenerational Housing Opportunities for the Township of Hurstbridge *; Shire of Nillumbik
  • 2006: Housing needs website project (City of Port Phillip) *; City of Port Phillip

* Chief Investigator

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