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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2005): Homelessness - UK

500,000 households live in cramped conditions says Shelter

H.Mulholland

The Guardian, October 24th 2005, p.5

Children are being forced to sleep in kitchens, dining rooms and hallways because of cramped social housing conditions, according to a survey published by the homelessness charity Shelter. In the largest study of this kind, a survey of 550 families living in overcrowded housing found children were forced to share a bedroom with their parents in almost three quarters of cases. The remainder (27%) put their children to sleep in lounges, dining rooms or kitchens because of a lack of space.

Informal and gendered practices in a homeless persons unit

H. Cramer

Housing Studies, vol.20, 2005, p.737-751

The informal categorisation of clients into those who are more and less deserving of help has been a noted occurrence among welfare officials. Using data from observations and interviews at several homeless assessment sites, article examines the evidence that the gender of a homeless person affects the way they are categorised by housing officers. Results show that housing officers see homeless women as the more deserving group and explanations for this are explored. However, a relative lack of short-term housing options for women means that the outcomes of women's cases may not reflect their more deserving categorisation.

Military history: the experiences of people who become homeless after leaving military service

G. Lemos

Housing, Care and Support, vol.8, Sept.2005, p.4-8

A disproportionate number of homeless people have spent time in the armed forces. This study used interviews with formerly homeless people with a services background to explore the factors which may increase the likelihood of ex-service personnel becoming homeless. The younger respondents who had experienced homelessness on leaving the armed forces often had disrupted family backgrounds and unresolved personal problems which re-surfaced on their discharge. A second group of respondents suffered mental health problems, alcohol dependency and relationship breakdown and were unable to cope with civilian life. Study concludes that standard help with housing should be combined with emotional support for people during the transition to civilian life.

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