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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2008): Homelessness - UK

Reaching into the shadows

L. Tickle

Community Care, June 19th 2008, p. 26-27

About 500 people still sleep rough across the UK, in spite of a 50m campaign to get them off the streets. They include women, people from ethnic minorities, drug addicts, economic migrants and failed asylum seekers. In order to reduce rough sleeping further, the government needs to put in place drug rehabilitation services and training opportunities.

Scam busters

G. Phillips

Roof, July/Aug. 2008, p. 46-47

Hafod Housing Association, a registered social landlord in South Wales, has set up a mortgage rescue scheme to prevent families faced with repossession due to arrears from sliding into homelessness. The Association will buy the property from the home owner, pay off the mortgage, refurbish it, and offer the family an assured tenancy at an affordable rent.

Selective caring

T. Tam, N. Balmer and J. Christian

Roof, July/Aug. 2008, p. 42-43

Homeless households in temporary accommodation struggle with a wide range of rights-based problems in the areas of discrimination, debt, and employment as well as housing. Legal advice is an effective means of combating such problems, but research evidence shows that this disadvantaged group does not sufficiently engage with current rights advice services.

Statutory homelessness in England: the experience of families and 16-17 year olds

N. Pleace and others

Department for Communities and Local Government, 2008

This study of more than 2,500 families accepted by local authorities as statutorily homeless found that:

  • Most (65%) were headed by a lone mother with one or two children
  • The majority were workless, but 36% contained someone in paid employment
  • Almost all were poor and in receipt of benefits and/or tax credits
  • Parents with a Black/Black British background were over-represented at 12% of homeless families
  • Children in homeless families generally appeared happy at school and at home, and were reportedly in good health.
  • Homelessness was triggered mainly by relationship breakdown or eviction
  • There was no evidence of use of the homelessness legislation as a fast track into social housing.
  • Families accepted as homeless in London and the South were more likely to experience long periods in temporary accommodation than those in the North and Midlands
  • Moves between temporary accommodation addresses did not appear to be a big problem
  • Families consistently reported a better quality of life in self-contained than in other forms of temporary accommodation such as hostels.
  • Families placed in settled housing reported a far better overall quality of life than those still living in temporary accommodation.

Overall the research shows that the statutory homelessness framework is functioning well, and assistance under the homelessness legislation appears to secure an overall net improvement in families' quality of life.

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