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Single homeless people who are rehoused: their experiences and needs Maureen Crane, 1 Louise Joly, 1 and Tony Warnes 2 1 Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London 2 University of Sheffield, Sheffield Making Research Count Practice Development Seminar, King’s College London 4 October 2011
Topics Ø The FOR-HOME study Ø The transition to independent living Ø Support once rehoused and housing outcomes Ø Shortcomings in current resettlement practice
Aims of the FOR-HOME study To produce longitudinal information about: (a) the experiences of homeless people who are resettled, and (b) the factors that influence the outcomes. Study conducted at the University of Sheffield by Tony Warnes, Maureen Crane and Sarah Coward. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
Study design and data collection Ø The sample: 400 single homeless people resettled into independent accommodation by the six organisations. Two clusters: London, and Nottingham / Leeds / Sheffield (Notts/Yorks). Ø Semi-structured interviews conducted immediately before being resettled, and after 6 and 15/18 months. Key-worker also completed questionnaire at baseline. Ø Interviews from June 2007 to March 2010. Tracking exercise at 12 months to check respondents whereabouts.
Profile of the study respondents Ø 296 men and 104 women Ø 24% aged 17 -24 years; 62% aged 25 -49; 14% aged 50+ Ø 56% White British, 44% other ethnicity Ø Problems: 63% mental health, 33% alcohol, 57% drugs, 19% literacy difficulties Ø 22% in care as a child, incl. 8% more than 5 years. A few became homeless after leaving care. Ø 14% homeless more than 10 years
Experiences of being in care as a child (%)
The transition to independent living
Managing a home (i) Ø 48% moved to local authority housing; 38% to housing association tenancies; 14% to private-rented. 87% aged 60+ moved to sheltered housing. Ø For many, the transition was not easy. 48% had never previously had a tenancy, including 85% aged 17 -24 years. Ø 78% were glad to have moved to their own accommodation – gained independence and privacy; had control of one’s accommodation; and able to start afresh and rebuild one’s life. Ø Over time, many decorated their property, and gradually acquired furniture and furnishings and created ‘a home’.
Managing a home (ii) Ø Two-thirds without basic furniture when moved in. 17% without essential utilities, and some accommodation in poor condition. Many had to move soon after signing tenancy. Ø At 18 months, 59% still problems with condition of accommodation. Also 9% still no cooker, 7% no bed, 18% no floor covering. Ø Many coped well with basic household tasks (cooking, cleaning, laundry). 29% had problems at 18 months – mainly due to lack of equipment, but a few depressed and unmotivated to do things.
Rebuilding lives Ø At 18 months, 39% were attending an education or training programme or were employed or doing voluntary work. This included one-half aged 17 -24 years. Ø Great deal of movement in and out of work – 38% worked at some time since being rehoused. Many jobs were casual or through an agency, insecure, and low paid. Only 18% still in jobs at 18 months. Many keen to work but could not find jobs. Ø After being resettled, 16 women gave birth and their babies lived with them (six also had partners move in). A further six people had their young or teenage children move in with them.
Rent arrears and other debts Ø Managing finances was major problem. Most reliant on social security benefits and had low incomes. Ø Financial difficulties led to increasing rent arrears and other debts over time. Ø Reasons for debts: outstanding debts at time resettled; rent arrears on former tenancies and court fines resurfaced once person rehoused; loans from social security and elsewhere to buy furniture and furnishings; difficulties understanding / paying utility bills; in and out of low-paid jobs affected social security benefits; supporting family / children.
Average rent arrears (£s) by tenure
Prevalence of debts by age
Debts of £ 1, 000 or more by age
Support once rehoused and housing outcomes
Housing and welfare support Ø Only one-half received support from a tenancy support (TS) worker after moving. Ø Young people least likely to have a TS worker yet most likely to have no experience of independent-living. Only 27% aged 1724 had TS. Ø 25% returned to their former hostel for help when having difficulties. Hostel staff unable to help with complex problems. Ø Only 6% had contact with a social worker (mainly young careleavers and older people). Received help with personal / emotional problems, money management and debts, sorting out furniture and repairs, finding courses and training.
Support from family and relatives Ø At 15/18 months, 45% saw a family member or relative at least once a week. Some previously in care remained in touch with their foster family. Ø Young people most likely and older people least likely to have family contact. 68% aged 17 -24 but only 13% aged 50+ saw a family member weekly. Ø Relatives tended to provide emotional support, encouragement and practical help, e. g. with laundry, meals or decorating. Ø Very few received substantial financial help from relatives – only small amounts, irregularly and in an emergency. Said relatives not in a position to help them financially.
Housing outcomes at 15/18 months (%) Excludes 4 people who died and 25 unknown if still in a tenancy
Housing outcomes at 15/18 months by age (%)
Shortcomings in current resettlement practice
Shortcomings in current resettlement practice Ø People have to move quickly before utilities connected and grants obtained to buy furniture. Ø Pervasiveness of increasing debts after resettlement – inadequate financial preparation and planning. Ø Reduced availability of social housing, and increased reliance on private-rented accommodation. Higher rents of this tenure exacerbate debt problems. Ø Lack of tenancy support for vulnerable people. Many received no help from housing or social services. Ø Lack of help to enable homeless people with multiple disadvantages to gain training, employment and become self -sufficient.
Our warm thanks to … All the respondents who have participated in this study over a very long time. Ruby Fu, Camilla Mercer and Louise Joly who have helped massively with running the project and coding the data. The freelance interviewers – Gary Bellamy, Paul Gilsenan, Louise Joly and John Miles. Members of the Management Committee: David Fisher (Broadway), Caroline Day and Jennifer Barnes (Centrepoint), Peter Radage and Rachel Harding (Framework), Julie Robinson and Tony Beech (St Anne’s), Simon Hughes and George Miller (St Mungo’s), and John Crowther and Debra Ives (Thames Reach), and to all their colleagues who have been Link Workers or have otherwise assisted with recruitment and tracking.
Contact details Maureen Crane: m. a. [email protected] ac. uk Tony Warnes: a. [email protected] ac. uk Louise Joly: louise. [email protected] ac. uk Final report published 11 May 2011. Available at: www. kcl. ac. uk/sspp/kpi/scwru/res/roles/resettling