The Queensland Mental Health Commission engaged ISSR to conduct a review of the systemic issues for social housing tenants with complex needs. The purpose of the research was to explore the lived experiences of housing clients with complex needs in the context of the introduction of the Anti-Social Behaviour Management Policy under which social housing tenants could be issued with “strikes” for certain behaviours.

A central component of our approach to this review was the development of twelve analytic case studies that illustrated the impact of current policies and practices on social housing tenants with mental health and substance misuse issues. We used in-depth interviews to collect meaningful data on the perceptions, behaviours and experiences of social housing tenants who received a strike under the policy. We triangulated their experiences with data collected in interviews with other stakeholders as well as evidence produced through a literature review and policy and practice analysis.

Our analytic case studies highlighted the barriers that exist for social housing tenants with complex needs to sustain their tenancies, including communication and comprehension problems, limited access to adequate support services, and challenges in modifying their behaviour.

The findings and recommendations from our research report informed the Commission’s first Ordinary Report to the Queensland Parliament and contributed to the Queensland Government introducing the new Fair Expectations of Behaviour Policy on 1 February 2016. Our research results also informed the design and implementation of a Mental Health Demonstration Project, which is testing a new integrated service initiative to assist people in social housing to sustain their tenancies while managing mental health issues or related complex needs.


  • Analyse the policies and procedures relating to the social housing tenures of people with complex needs
  • Identify the intended and unintended impacts of anti-social behaviour policies for social housing tenants with complex needs
  • Determine the issues that need to be addressed in order to both sustain tenancies for people with complex needs and reduce anti-social behaviour by social housing tenants


Project team

  • Professor Andrew Jones
  • Dr Cameron Parsell
  • Rhonda Phillips
  • Dr Genevieve Dingle

Project details

Duration: March 2014–June 2014

Partner: Queensland Mental Health Commission

Funding: Queensland Mental Health Commission

Contact: Dr Cameron Parsell (

ISSR ref: ISSR020818