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Land of Opportunity? Comparing Street Homeless Experiences Between Polish Migrants and UK Citizens in Two British Cities
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Land of Opportunity? Comparing Street Homeless Experiences Between Polish Migrants and UK Citizens in Two British Cities

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Presentation given by Graham Bowpitt, Peter Dwyer, Eva Sundin and Mark Weinstein, UK at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Understanding Homelessness and Housing Exclusion in the New European Context", ...

Presentation given by Graham Bowpitt, Peter Dwyer, Eva Sundin and Mark Weinstein, UK at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Understanding Homelessness and Housing Exclusion in the New European Context", Budapest, Hungary, 2010

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    Land of Opportunity? Comparing Street Homeless Experiences Between Polish Migrants and UK Citizens in Two British Cities Land of Opportunity? Comparing Street Homeless Experiences Between Polish Migrants and UK Citizens in Two British Cities Presentation Transcript

    • Land of opportunity? Comparing streethomeless experiences between Polishmigrants and UK citizens in two Britishcities Graham Bowpitt, Nottingham Trent University Peter Dwyer, University of Salford Eva Sundin, Nottingham Trent University Mark Weinstein, Nottingham Trent University The Multiple Exclusion Homelessness Programme is jointly funded by the ESRC, JRF, DCLG This project funded by grant RES-188-25-0001 European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • Key questions Why are CEE migrants found in disproportionate numbers in the UK street homeless population? How do CEE homeless differ  From UK street homeless population  From the majority of A8 migrants  Between different localities In terms of  Background  Current circumstances  Support needs  Access to services and opportunities? What are the most appropriate policy responses to this issue? European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • Background 1): UK street homeless population400030002000 Annual1000 totals for 0 London -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 20 9 0 - -1 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Numbers remain high, despite policy initiatives High proportion combine homelessness with other social exclusion indicators Increasing proportions of CEE migrants in London street homeless population (37% LKI 10 CE of support organisation) Current thinking about causes focuses on structural factors that ill equip some people to cope with private tragedies Subject of recent UK Government initiatives culminating in No-one left out (2008) European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • Background 2): the A8 migrant population Substantial migration of CEE citizens to UK following EU membership in 2004 (2007 for Rumania and Bulgaria)  732,850 applied to Home Office for registration under the Workers Registration Scheme, 2006-9, of which 64% were Polish  Pollard et al (2008) estimate over 1 million CEE migrants into UK 2004-2008 Disproportionate settlement in different parts of the UK  Nottingham CEE migrant population 75% Polish Few experience street homelessness, but disproportionate compared with indigenous population Characteristics might suggest potential vulnerability to social exclusion  Half single or with no accompanying dependents  Location often decided by social networks rather than employment  Limited English language skills  General depreciation in job status, with high unemployment and low pay  73% in private rented sector, with poor housing and overcrowding  33% had been victims of crime European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • Researching multiple exclusion homelessness Semi- structured qualitative interviews in Nottingham and London  108 multiply excluded homeless people  45 key informants We wanted to find out  What brought people on to the streets?  What their priorities were while they were on the streets?  What led them to deal with their multiple exclusion homelessness?  The perspectives, priorities and constraints of service providers? Formerly homeless volunteers were used as peer researchers Abductive research strategy to compare/contrast homeless people and service providers’ understandings and priorities European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • Street homelessness among CEE migrants:what we currently know London  Polish proportion increasing (30% - 45%, 2007 – 2008)  Proportion with alcohol support needs increasing and now higher than indigenous homeless (35% - 67%, 2007 – 2008, cf. 46%)  Other support needs the same or lower than indigenous homeless: mental health (30%, cf. 31%), drugs (10%, cf. 29%) Nottingham (numbers too small to analyse). However,  Triggered by precarious arrangements with friends/relatives or by loss of tied accommodation  Little knowledge of or access to mainstream services Causes of homelessness among CEE migrants suggest 2 types  Those who have encountered migration difficulties  Those with long-term vulnerabilities  Structural factors associated with migration increase vulnerability so that the first group is at risk of being absorbed into the second European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • What we found 1): characteristics of the Polishsub-sample All male and currently street homeless All had alcohol issues, compared with 47% of overall sampleThe first day in London I’m working, maybe [for] three weeks maybe after one month I’ve no money. I’m must sleep on the street... too much free time, I’m alcoholic. I must drink. When I’m working, no drink. ...when I stopping work come back to garage and to alcohol. This is problem”. (L108)“Vodka flows quite freely. I know in Poland anyway. I think it probably is a cultural thing... over here the drink tends to sort of allow them to escape from the reality of how they have ended up”. (LKI 16 reconnections team)“I am alcoholic. Every day when I drink I do not shake but when I don’t drink I have shakes. I also have epilepsy and a big problem that I’m alcoholic, I am every day drink.” (N42) European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • What we found 2): causes of homelessness The recession/exploitation by unscrupulous employers“He was renting from a private landlord....after he lost his job it was probably about two weeks and then he was asked to leave. He didn’t tell anyone why.” (L107)“People have been working for 3 or 4 years and didn’t realise their employers weren’t paying their national insurance contributions”. (NKI 10 worker day centre) Loss of informal employment with tied accommodation“I work here for gypsy people and I’m paid £50 per day, I don’t pay for a house or food because he gives me everything. I don’t know why, he goes.” (N43) Ignoring/being poorly advised about Workers Registration criteria Discharge from prison“I was in prison for 4 months. When I got case, the judge say I not guilty. From this time, I am homeless.” (N12) Drink problems precluding access to work European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • What we found 3): causes of homelessness General ineligibility to access statutory homelessness services or local authority accommodation“A lot of projects, maybe that’s a generalisation, but projects that receive statutory funding, obviously the funding is given to them for specific reasons. They do not work with central eastern Europeans.” (LKI 8 manager faith based day centre)“There’s loads of them but we haven’t got any here. Because they can’t get benefits can they.” (LKI 2 hostel manager)“Because I don’t have benefits I cannot go to a hostel, this is the problem.” (N12)“Very few...I can recall one Polish man”. (LKI 15 doctor in hostel service)“There is a group that have fallen very badly by the wayside. They are on the street, destitute, this clumsy term … public funds. Means they can’t book into hostels.” (LKI 10 CE of support organisation)“They have no recourse to benefit making it very difficult for us to actually accommodate them. And also to work with them.” (NKI 20 manager support organisation) European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • What we found 4): barriers to accessingsupport Loss of or lack of documents“I have no pay slips to work, because they stolen. I have Home Office. Because I need papers, I am lost. I want to get new Home Office. For a new copy, I must buy £75.” (N12) Lack of recourse to benefits under transitional rules“I am working here and every time they say Polish no benefits. Polish people not legal so no benefits.” (N42)“One month before, £90. Job Centre give me Crisis Loan. This money I must pay back … £7 a week. I have not this money.”(N12) Limited available resources e.g. interpretation services“They slip through the net to be honest... it just wouldn’t be possible for an interpreter to come every week and [service] to pay for it.” (NKI 24, street intervention worker) European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • What we found 5): Getting help when homeless Heavily reliant on other migrants“One night I am with friends then the second night sometimes I sit in the road, in the streets, sometimes squat, you know. When somebody rings me up and says I can stay at their house and afterwards I am going.” (N43) Non statutory charitable and faith based providers vital“In the winter the church hostel... (inaudible) but only for three months was told at the beginning.” (L107)“I come here [faith day centre] and to Salvation Army. I sell Big Issue. I have money. For me is very important. Like family. This is good people. Staff. People are very good.” (N42)“Most of them end up in day centres like ourselves because they don’t have access to public funds, they are destitute.” (LKI 8 manager faith based day centre) Finding work was the top priority“Number one is work [then] room is no problem because I go to work and will pay you £40 or £35 per week no problem, because I work and am making money.” (N43) European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT
    • Conclusions Polish migrants are a good case study of current understanding of causes of homelessness, rather than inviting a new one  Migration as a route of escape from structural problems (poverty/unemployment) and personal troubles (broken relationships, alcohol issues)  Structural and personal issues render a minority of A8 migrants ill- equipped to meet the challenges of migration  EU/UK policy systematically excludes A8 migrants from social rights promised by citizenship and forces people to rely on charitable support and the informal networks of street culture Policy responses to tackle homelessness among migrant populations  The EU level: 2011 end of transitional rules for A8s but a recurrent problem as the EU expands?  The EU level: the equalisation of economies argument?  The UK level: extend full social rights to new groups of migrants?  The UK level: repatriation: government grants to assist reconnection programmes? European Research Conference, Budapest, 17th September 2010 UNDERSTANDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING EXCLUSION IN THE NEW ENHR EUROPEAN CONTEXT