Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 595–614 | Cite as

Chaotic, fluid and unstable: an exploration of the complex housing trajectories of homeless people in Flanders, Belgium

  • Pascal De Decker
  • Kaatje Segers


This article analyses the housing and homeless pathways of (ex)homeless persons in the coastal city of Ostend. After a short review of the literature on the causes and meaning of the vulnerability of homeless persons, we describe how our case study with (former) homeless persons in Ostend was organised. We deal with some methodological issues and the analytic results, revealing a very complex housing trajectory. We focus on these dynamic and complex housing pathways and look at the role of relationships and relationship breakdown, work and unemployment, eviction after rent arrears and moving as an escape strategy. We also deal with the searching process for housing and the role of social networks. We end with some conclusions and interest points for policy.


Housing Homelessness Housing pathways Flanders 



We would like to thank Anne Beeckman, Ruth Owen (FEANTSA), the participants to the WELPHASE workshop at the Lillehammer ENHR conference (June 2012), our respondents and two anonymous referees for their comments on earlier versions of the text. We also would like to thank the colleagues and the members of the steering group of the Steunpunt Ruimte & Wonen, and the staff of CAW&JZ Middenkust for their support and co-operation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ArchitectureCatholic University of LeuvenCampus LUCABelgium
  2. 2.University College GhentGhentBelgium

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