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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2011): Social housing - overseas

Housing vulnerable groups: the development of a new public action sector

C. Levy-Vroelant

International Journal of Housing Policy, vol. 10, 2010, p. 443-456

This paper begins by revisiting the concept of vulnerability and the ways in which it is used in the housing policy sector. It then proposes a re-examination of the welfare state, and the imprecise frontiers between policies dedicated to governing housing, and policies aimed at ensuring social protection. In summarising the social effects of policies targeting vulnerable groups, it identifies the significance of a number of developments: the arrival of new civil society actors in the field of housing; the increasing litigiousness of society and the placing of the 'vulnerable' in competition with each other; and the extension of the realm of housing, through European financing and intra-national redistribution, into both social activities and urban reframing. The intention is to show what appears to be a renewed interest in a policy of assistance aimed at rectifying inequalities generated by liberal governance of the market.

How local public administrators, nonprofit providers, and elected officials perceive impediments to fair housing in the suburbs: an analysis of Erie County, New York

K.L. Patterson and R.M. Silverman

Housing Policy Debate, vol. 21, 2011, p. 165-188

Housing discrimination and segregation remain intractable problems in the USA. This article examines how local public administrators, nonprofit providers and elected officials in the suburbs of Erie County, NY perceive impediments to fair housing. The research involved an examination of trends relating to fair housing and housing discrimination complaints between 2000 and 2006. It also included a series of focus groups with local public administrators, nonprofit providers and elected officials. Results indicate that key stakeholders emphasise specific issues and groups when discussing impediments to fair housing. These predispositions lead to uneven policy implementation. In particular, there is a tendency to emphasise impediments encountered by older people, while paying less attention to those impacting on minorities, families, the disabled and the poor.

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