Conceptualizing Housing Instability: Experiences with Material and Psychological Instability Among Women Living with Partner Violence

Although recent research has documented that partner violence places women at risk of homelessness and material housing instability, sparse evidence yet documents the existence or importance of psychological housing instability for this group. We draw from 45 women's reports of their experiences of housing instability across three periods: while living with their abusive partner, immediately after leaving the partner, and long after leaving. Housing instability—material and especially psychological—was a major concern for women across all periods, along with co-occurring social, familial, financial, mental health, and violence related problems. In the absence of coordinated services models, access to and navigation of available services to address these simultaneous problems posed important challenges for these women. The concept of housing instability should be expanded to include psychological instability, and, for women who are experiencing abuse, should be considered alongside numerous social and health problems that exacerbate housing precarity.

Publication Date: 
In press
Journal Name: 
Housing Studies
Ontario, Canada