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European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Sustain PRS Project Interim findings 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Sustain PRS Project Interim findings 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Sustain PRS Project Interim findings 2012

2 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 About Sustain A longitudinal (3 year) research project Qualitative ‘in depth’ research Topic About people who have been resettled into PRS accommodation after having been homeless Interviewed three times: at start of tenancy, at 6-8 months and and months Focused on their experiences Research questions What are their outcomes and what influences their outcomes? How does living in the PRS impact wellbeing?

3 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Who we talked to 171 people 86 Families with children (72% lone parents) 85 Single households (36% were parents) One person in each household Age range: women, 78 men 65% White British 28% non-UK country of origin 35% Black and Minority Ethnic 96% Heterosexual, 4% Homosexual People in three areas: Greater Manchester (e.g. Stockport, Bolton, Rochdale) East & South East London (inner and outer boroughs) East Sussex (e.g. Brighton, Hastings, Eastbourne) Mixed recruitment through: Local Authorities (99) Support agencies (72) Self referrals (5) 1 Shelter Client and 5 Crisis clients All underwent resettlement support or approached agencies to receive it Found participants with different types of support

4 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Referrals across each region E and SE LondonGreater Manchester East Sussex 27 Local authorities 27 Support agencies 5 Self-referral 42 Local authorities 16 Support agencies 27 Local authorities 27 Support agencies

5 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Interim findings from first round of interviews Topic – participants’ experiences and how they feel. Self-reported feelings about housing situation at time of being interviewed. Focus – post entry into PRS rather than route to PRS. Not an evaluation of types of support. Scope – Findings relate to a third of data that the study will gather. As research progresses more detailed, thematic analysis will be conducted.

6 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 First Interviews - topics we discussed Past – why do people move into the PRS? Present – what are the places like they live now? Future – what are people worried about, what do they prioritise? What do they want?

7 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Before moving into the PRS (this time) All in recognised states of homelessness or housing need Many problems directly connected to housing conditions or circumstances: Poor conditions Landlord problems Rent arrears Being given notice Some personal Relationship breakdown A lone parent with two children became homeless due to rent arrears. Although her rent had been paid direct to the landlord through Housing Benefit, she had triggered a re-assessment of her Housing Benefit claim through taking on some part-time work. This meant an alteration in her job seeker’s allowance (JSA) and a suspension of her Housing Benefit. She did not realise, and because the Housing Benefit had been paid directly to the landlord, she was only alerted to the problem once three months of arrears had accumulated. Her landlord evicted her and became aggressive, refusing to give her rent deposit back. In trying to find a new flat to live in with her children, she was asked for a guarantor but didn’t have one. Without a deposit or a guarantor, and with a bad credit history, she had few options. The local authority managed to re-house her in a new PRS property using their rent deposit scheme.

8 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 How participants got into housing need Overcrowding or sofa surfing in past housing. Problem with past housing or past housing provider. A relationship breakdown, culminating in:  a move away from domestic violence  repeat homelessness. Exiting from an institution

9 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Type of support Participants from a range of voluntary and statutory agencies in each region:  Being given a letter saying options have been explained.  Bond scheme – no money exchanged, but underwrites some of the financial risk for the landlord.  Checking tenancy documentation – making sure there is a contract/ valid contract.  Continuing support after moving in – being checked on, resolving problems.  Counselling or courses on how to manage a home.  Fast track/help with Housing Benefit – local authority assistance on urgent moves.  Floating support/home visits – help to set up, visiting to help with needs/tenancy/education.  Furniture finder/pack – home pack (eg crockery set or cutlery.  Furniture storage (eg if becoming homeless and living in temporary accommodation for a period).  Landlord liaison/negotiating terms with landlord/agent (eg making arrangements, which landlords who are reluctant to accept Housing Benefit clients might accept, such as monthly inspections/rent paid directly).  List of landlords –phone numbers and names.  Property finder/property checker – find property for the tenant.  Providing transport for moving – supply a removal van  Rent deposit scheme – provides a rent deposit to the landlord.

10 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Finding help People have limited knowledge about sources of help for people in housing need and generally find it hard to find support. Types of support offered to people in housing need varies considerably, by region, organisation and by person, regardless of need Specific barriers people faced when approaching local authorities for support, especially if they were a single household, were in debt or didn’t have any ID When people were given specific support to move into the PRS they were more likely to feel positive when they had received a higher level of support, for example if helped to find a PRS tenancy rather than being given a list of landlords People had a limited understanding of the support they received to move into properties and in some cases the implications of accepting it. This involved not being aware of the legal implications of support until after they had accepted the support, such as having duty for them discharged.

11 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 “They were amazing for this whole scenario... like the help that they gave me was brilliant; it was second to none, really... Like they’ve got contacts within the letting companies who understand - the landlords that understand the situation - you know, of a deposit, or the month’s rent - there might be problems and that. But like I was quite lucky because I had a brilliant reference, obviously from my past landlords, I had a guarantor; I managed to get a Crisis loan for my first month’s rent, and the landlords are letting me pay my deposit off in instalments. And that was all arranged, pretty much, by [support agency] for me.”

12 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Decision-making Most people moved into the PRS because they felt there was no other choice but to do so. They had been told they would be unlikely to access social tenancies or were refused help by the local authority. People found it hard to access tenancies on their own because of a number of barriers. These included not having a rent deposit, landlords not taking housing benefit claimants and/or not accepting rent deposit or bond schemes, not having a guarantor and property scarcity. Supply of PRS accommodation differed by region and affected peoples decision-making behaviour. More choice in Greater Manchester meant that people tended to chose properties based on area. People found it so challenging to find a property in London that they were often forced to take the first place they could afford in order to avoid being homeless. People often accepted the first place they could find where a landlord accepted their application. As a result some moved into unsuitable homes or unsuitable areas.

13 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 “I actually gave up because I just couldn’t find anywhere that would do the rent deposit scheme or take on DSS, and the [council’s] Housing found me nothing, or even tried, I don’t even know. And then I decided to move areas, decided to come to [London borough] ’cos all my family’s down here. But even then that was hard as well because again no-one would take DSS or rent deposit. And I only found this place ’cos it was up on the internet that first day”

14 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Life in the property now Having to take any available tenancy had negative impacts on people’s lives. For example, for many this meant moving areas, which disrupted their children’s schooling. Available furnishings had an impact on the way people lived their lives and managed their costs. Some people had very little or no furniture and reported sharing beds. Some people did not have or could not rent somewhere with white goods such as fridges and freezers. This impacted their budgeting as being without these items limited the way they could plan and manage their food and financial resources. People reported having difficult choices about how to manage their finances, including reporting going without heating, electricity or food when prioritising costs for their children.

15 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 I couldn’t get any type of financial help, so now I am in a house with two children when I don’t even have a fridge freezer, a washer, I don’t really have anything. I have one bed, one single bed that we are all sleeping in, it’s not really good. I wish I could have had more help there, rather than them saying ‘right here’s your house, now you are in it’. I wish someone could have helped me and given me a bit of a lifeline, even if they could have given me a bit of furniture.’

16 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Sustainability of their accommodation and hopes for the future People felt that their housing was a ‘stepping stone’ in improving their lifestyle and wellbeing. People were generally positive about the future and were relieved they were no longer homeless. They wanted to improve the properties and make them feel like home. People wanted to achieve housing stability and felt that this would lead to lifestyle stability. They felt that having a place to stay in the long term would benefit their ability to plan for the future and find work. People wanted to stay in their tenancies but were concerned about being able to do so. They were worried their landlords would put the rent up or evict them. This was a barrier to them considering their tenancies ‘home’.

17 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 “Just really being stable and establishing community ties really, and feeling that I don’t have to move around again. Just being stable, it’s important that I’m not uprooting myself or the children again, everything changes when you uproot, you have to change schools, you have to change phone numbers, you have to change address, you have to contact the utility companies. It is horrid and I don’t need to go through that again, I need to stay put so I can plan out the rest of, the next few years. If you are uprooted how can you plan? Your planning is limited so it is really important that I stay here for as long as I possibly can.”

18 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 What next? Interim report published with wave 1 results es/policy_and_practice/sustain es/policy_and_practice/sustain Wave 2 interviews complete Long term project seeks to:  Create evidence on the sector  Outline support and policy recommendations Contact us on

19 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012


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