Welfare is a composite word combining ‘well’ (in its contemporary meaning) with ‘fare’ (from the Old English ‘faran’), meaning a state of being. The elements can, of course, be reversed to form the departure phrase ‘farewell’. In housing practice the term ‘welfare’ is used to refl ect social concern for the well-being of individuals and groups. It is often applied to specifi c vulnerable categories such as the elderly, the unemployed or those on low incomes. This application of the term fi rst appeared in the early twentieth century and, with the development of the modern welfare and social security arrangements, its use has now become ubiquitous in both popular and academic writing.
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