module specification

SS6057 - Homelessness and Housing Policy (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Homelessness and Housing Policy
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
66 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
48 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Book review - either a 1,000- word written review OR a ten- minute podcast
Coursework 70%   Essay (2000 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Thursday Morning
Summer studies North Monday Morning

Module summary

In this module, you will look at one of the most pressing social issues in the UK today – that of the cost and shortage of housing and of the shortage of affordable housing in particular. Living in a safe, comfortable and secure home is a human right, essential to our wellbeing. However, it is widely agreed that we have a housing crisis in the UK. This crisis is perhaps especially acute in London but it is a crisis which affects much of the country. Over the past ten years, the cost of housing, including rents in the private rented sector have spiralled while the number of social rented homes has continued to fall and the numbers of people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation has risen. In this module, you will look at the scale and at the underlying causes of the housing crisis in the UK. You will look at the shortage of affordable housing, the growth of the private rented sector and at the collapse of social rented housing. You will also look at how access to housing and the housing market reflects wider social divisions in terms of class, ethnicity and gender. The module places housing and housing policy at the core of our understanding of society, social divisions and social policy.

The module focuses on housing policy and on social housing, looking at the history of social housing in the UK and at changes in housing policy since the 1980s. The module also looks at the growth of homelessness and at the underlying causes of the growing level of homelessness. You will look at homelessness policy, at good practice models of how to tackle homelessness and at the link between housing and poverty and the importance of both housing and welfare policy as instruments of poverty reduction.

The aims of the module are to:

  • understand what the housing market is and how it works
  • develop an understanding of the problems in accessing decent housing in the UK, how widespread the problems are, which groups suffer most and why these problems appear to have worsened over recent years
  • develop data handling and data analysis skills to collect and analyse relevant data on housing and the housing crisis in the UK
  • develop and demonstrate an understanding of housing policy and housing policy changes in the UK
  • develop policy analysis and policy evaluation skills
  • understand how the housing market reflects the different economic and political ideologies which shape housing policy

Prior learning requirements

Available for Study Abroad? YES


This module looks at housing and at the current housing crisis in the UK. In the module, you will begin by looking at the key housing issues facing the UK today, including the growing unaffordability of housing, the decline of social housing, the growth in homelessness and overcrowding and the growing link between housing and poverty. You will also look at how access to housing reflects social divisions in society and at recent reports documenting structural racism in housing.

The module then examines some of the key underlying causes of the housing crisis. This includes looking at the financialisation and commodification of housing, at the impact of overseas investment on housing, at gentrification and at the role of housing policy in shaping the current housing crisis in the UK. You will look at the history of housing policy especially since the 1980s, with the growing significance in this period of neo-liberal housing policy which has overseen the collapse of council and social housing and the growing privatisation of housing through policy instruments such as the Right-to-Buy. The module also examines more recent housing and welfare policies. This will include looking at the housing policy focus on demolishing council housing estates and rebuilding mixed-tenure neighbourhoods in the name of regeneration.

You will also look at the issue of homelessness, at how we define homelessness and at the growth and scale of homelessness as well as at the underlying causes of homelessness.  You will look at how housing policies tackle homelessness including looking at good practice models.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning and teaching will comprise weekly three-hour sessions face-to-face. This will comprise of a weekly lecture followed by a seminar or workshop based session. The seminar will be based around pre-set reading and seminar questions for discussion, in small groups and with the group as a whole.

Learning will be supported by the module weblearn site which will include all teaching materials – reading, video materials (which will be used extensively) and recorded lectures.  A range of teaching materials will be used including a wide range of recent research and reports, video and podcast materials.

The module is designed to encourage students to reflect on what is familiar, especially on their own housing experiences, and to develop and adopt a critical approach to knowledge and understanding, in a reflective way, seeking to make linkages and deepen their understanding. Reflective activities will be encouraged in class based activities.

Students will be encouraged to engage fully with feedback opportunities on both assessments which will help them reflect and develop their learning.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and document the scale and characteristics of the housing crisis in the UK including how access to housing reflects and reinforces social divisions in society (LO1)
  2.  Demonstrate an understanding of the key causes of the housing crisis in the UK (LO2)
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of housing policy in the UK since the 1980s and of how housing policy reflects different political ideologies (LO3)
  4. Critically evaluate contemporary housing policy in the UK (LO4)

Assessment strategy

1. Summative assessment (30%) – produce a book review- review a contemporary book on an aspect of the housing crisis in the UK chosen either from a pre-set list of 5 key module texts OR a book of the student’s own choice (in agreement with the tutor). The review will take the form of EITHER a 1,000-word written book
review OR a ten-minute Podcast

2. Summative assessment (70%) – write an essay (2,000 words) EITHER from a list of pre-set essay titles OR an essay title of the student’s choice (in agreement with
the tutor)