Pathways Into and Out of Homelessness - The Case of Problem Gambling

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Presentation given by Lesley McMahon & Barbara Illsley, UK at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Understanding Homelessness and Housing Exclusion in the New European Context", Budapest, Hungary, 2010

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  • Australia: growing awareness of the relationship between problem gambling and homelessness (and housing stress)
  • Gamblers and their families say that lack of trust, lying, arguments and financial stresses leads to enormous pressures on families . 1 in 10 problem gamblers said that their gambling had led to a relationship breakdown . It is estimated that there are around 1 600 gambling-related divorces annually . 1 in 10 gamblers in counselling reported domestic or other violent incidents related to their gambling. Source: Productivity Commission. (1999). Australia’s gambling industries, Report No. 10, Volumes 1–3, AusInfo . Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. [chapter 7: 7.1]
  • Pathways Into and Out of Homelessness - The Case of Problem Gambling

    1. 1. Pathways into and out ofhomelessness: the case of problem gambling Lesley McMahon and Barbara Illsley European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE ENHR NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    2. 2. Content1 Problem gambling2 A hidden issue and a process3 Theoretical perspective4 Data5 Findings: UK6 Findings: Australia7 Reasons for different representations of the issue8 Conclusions European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    3. 3. Gambling and problem gamblingNo Social Heavy Problem PathologicalGambling Gambling Gambling Gambling Gambling  Gambling continuum  Only a small proportion of people who gamble experience problems with gambling  Problem gambling is defined by Brown (2001) to exist when gambling activity results in a range of adverse consequences where:  The safety and well-being of gambling customers and/or their families and friends are placed at risk; and  Negative impacts extend to the broader community  Pathways model of problem gambling (Blaszczynski & Nower, 2002)  Insidious nature of problem gambling  Lack of physiological symptoms European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    4. 4. Impact of Problem Gambling onFamilies and Relationships (APC, 1999) European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    5. 5. Problem gambling and homelessness: a hidden issue Pathways framework exploring homelessness and support issues - well developed Limited research into the relationship between problem gambling and homelessness Emotionally vulnerable European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    6. 6. Theoretical perspective Critical inquiry  Data as a product are omnipresent and continually produced due to human agency (Bhaskar, 1998:88)  Approach questions the current knowledge by seeking to understand the “social ontology” of a phenomenon (Martin, 2008:517)  The researcher’s and research participants’ role is to illuminate what data and understandings are false  Need to be conscious of the power relations in society  The duality of structure and agency European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT 6
    7. 7. Data Objectives  Enquire into the experiences of people who have experienced problem gambling, and the impact of this on their housing status  To identify the support factors  Highlight good practice UK study  11 staff in 9 agencies and 35 individuals Australian study  Interviewed 26 agency staff in 17 organisations and 8 clients  Funded by Carnegie Trust European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    8. 8. Key Findings: UK Agencies  Agencies little awareness of problem gambling  No training received with respect to problem gambling  Lack of resources, and already stretched People who have experienced problem gambling  Shame felt by people who have experienced problem gambling  Never mentioned problem gambling when rehoused; although primary reason for homelessness  Never mentioned problem gambling to debt counsellors  Concerned about ability to engage with young people who are experiencing problem gambling  Lack of informal support: burned bridges with friends and family European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    9. 9. Key Findings: Australia Gambling Counselling Agencies  Estimated approx 25% clients have experienced homelessness or a reduction in housing circumstances caused by the problem gambling (eviction, repossession, relationship breakdown) Homelessness sector  Variation regarding awareness of problem gambling as a discrete issue  Very rarely the presenting issue  Not the primary or secondary reason, but it is a growing factor especially with clients who have complex needs  Homelessness academic: “Gambling is not an issue” European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    10. 10. Why the different representations of the problem? HOMELESSNESS & HOUSING SECTORClient WorkerNon-disclosure Not identifying Stigma • Not Shame on Fear of denial of radar service • InadeNeeds not meet quate skills to European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 respo nd UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    11. 11. Conclusions Problem gambling is a pathway into homelessness, but, it is not the primary cause. Over-indebtedness, repossession, domestic abuse, relationship breakdown are more likely to be the primary reason for the homelessness episode If disclosure occurs, support such as talking therapies and budgeting should be provided to maximise the likelihood of a sustainable positive housing outcome in the future Housing & homelessness sector  Training to raise awareness (GamCare)  Develop policies regarding service delivery for people who are experiencing problem gambling European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    12. 12. Conclusions Government policies should be proactive with community education programmes (illustrating behavioural strategies, as well as problem recognition)  Should encourage people to talk openly about problem gambling to remove the stigma and shame  Data collection Gambling industry to a degree acknowledges its role and responsibilities  The GREaT Foundation funds support for PG and community education European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN ENHR THE NEW EUROPEAN CONTEXT

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