This paper reports on a comparative research study being conducted on lone parents in public housing and lone parents in receipt of rent assistance in the private rental sector. The study is being carried out in specific locations shared by both groups. The research has a number of layers and cuts across a number of core conceptual and policy issues. It is about lone parents and thus addresses the issues of gender, feminisation of poverty, and welfare dependency. It is about different models of housing assistance and thus needs to review arguments about these models. And it is about locality and thus confronts issues of localism, community, spatial exclusion, social mix and neighbourhood.