Determinants of tenancy sustainment following homelessness: a systematic review

L Boland, A Slade, R Yarwood, K Bannigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Tenancy sustainment—maintenance of a tenancy to avoid a premature end of tenure—is fundamental to prevention of homelessness. Understanding what enables a successful tenancy is essential in informing interventions designed to support people in leaving homelessness. Objectives: To conduct a systematic review identifying determinants associated with tenancy sustainment following homelessness. Search Methods: A detailed search of 12 electronic databases, as well as gray literature sources, was conducted in 2015 and updated in 2016. Selection Criteria: We included all study designs with a population of homeless or formerly homeless individuals in which tenancy sustainment was the primary outcome. Two reviewers independently carried out abstract and full-text reviews. QualSyst, a validated quality appraisal tool, was used in assessing the methodological quality of articles. Data Collection and Analysis: A data extraction form was developed for the review and was completed by a pair of reviewers to ensure accuracy. The heterogeneity of the studies included indicated that a narrative overview of the results was most appropriate. Main Results: Forty-three articles reporting 38 studies were included. Determinants were categorized at 4 levels: individual, interpersonal, community, and structural. Participation in specific programs (e.g., Housing First), receipt of social support, and older age were identified as positive determinants of tenancy sustainment. Conclusions: This systematic review is the first, to our knowledge, to focus solely on tenancy sustainment as a primary outcome. Although a range of determinants associated with tenancy sustainment were identified, it was difficult to draw strong conclusions owing to the heterogeneity of the studies. Despite being a fundamental concept in homelessness research, tenancy sustainment is poorly defined and conceptualized. A deeper understanding of tenancy sustainment will inform the development and evaluation of interventions that support people in leaving homelessness and maintaining tenancies. Public Health Implications: Housing stability is central to preventing homelessness and addressing the numerous public health concerns that can co-occur with homelessness. Our review highlights that a standardized approach to measuring housing stability and more high-quality intervention studies are essential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e8
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • homelessness
  • tenancy sustainment
  • housing stability
  • public health


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