Sustain PRS ProjectInterim findings 2012               European Research Conference       Access to Housing for Homeless P...
About Sustain   A longitudinal (3 year) research project   Qualitative ‘in depth’ researchTopic About people who have b...
Who we talked to   171 people                                    People in three areas:   86 Families with children (72%...
Referrals across each regionE and SE London Greater                                         East Sussex                Man...
Interim findings from first round of                 interviews   Topic – participants’ experiences and how they feel.   ...
First Interviews - topics we discussed   Past – why do people move into the PRS?   Present – what are the places like th...
Before moving into the PRS (this time)All in recognised states of                  A lone parent with two children becameh...
How participants got into housing                  need   Overcrowding or sofa surfing in past housing.   Problem with p...
Type of support   Participants from a range of voluntary and statutory agencies in each region:        Being given a let...
Finding help   People have limited knowledge about sources of help for people in housing    need and generally find it ha...
“They were amazing for this whole scenario... like the help that theygave me was brilliant; it was second to none, really....
Decision-making   Most people moved into the PRS because they felt there was no other    choice but to do so. They had be...
“I actually gave up because I just couldn‟t find                  anywhere that would do the rent deposit                 ...
Life in the property now   Having to take any available tenancy had negative impacts on    people’s lives. For example, f...
I couldn‟t get any type of financialhelp, so now I am in a house with twochildren when I don‟t even have afridge freezer, ...
Sustainability of their accommodation           and hopes for the future   People felt that their housing was a ‘stepping...
“Just really being stable and establishing              community ties really, and feeling that I don‟t              have ...
What next?   Interim report published with wave 1 results    http://england.shelter.org.uk/professional_resourc    es/pol...
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Exploring the Private Rented Sector. Early Findings from the “Sustain the Private Rented Sector” Project

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A presentation given by Mary Smith, Francesca Albanese and Jenna Truder, UK at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe", York, September 2012

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  • A joint partnership project with Crisis funded by the Big Lottery, Shelter are the lead partners. The research team is based at Shelter.
  • The areas were all chosen for their PRS density and ratio of social tenancies, PRS tenancies and other factors inherent to assessing homelessness and general support needs, such as indices of multiple deprivations. East and South East London areas – a unique rental market, inner and outer city boroughs, highest PRS density in the country, significant in-migration. Greater Manchester areas – varying use of PRS, inner and outer city locations, semi-rural towns. East Sussex areas – coastal and semi rural, also with significant migration and use of PRSSome m We allowed for a sliding scale of defined support and models – from very little support (eg signposting or picking up a leaflet) to being found a tenancy and supported in it for a timeWe recruited participants from a range of voluntary and statutory agencies in each region. Achieving a good mix of voluntary and statutory support across regions also helped us understand more about available support in each region. Recruitment of people was also achieved more directly, by placing leaflets and posters in public places such as libraries or non-housing-related support agencies. We decided specifically to recruit very few Shelter or Crisis clients, recruiting only five through Crisis and one Shelter service user, because we felt they might feel compromised and unable to talk openly about support received.
  • Things to note:First wave is all about participants experiences and how they feel. The research focuses on what emerges from people’s self-reported feelings about their housing situation at the time of being interviewed. The research is about post entry into the PRS not about the route into the PRS. The research does not attempt to review or evaluate the types of support participants talked about rather it identifies the support which participants themselves talked about.These findings relate to a third of the data so as the research progresses we will be able to pick out more detailed and thematic analysis which will form part of the final report.
  • Expand on qualitative method – so semi structured because of the different interviewersOrganised around their experience and categorised into states of housingProbed on topic areas relevant to living in housing and receiving supportFirst interview – took place in people’s homes. Took between half an hour to three hours.Housing history/pathway into current PRS accommodation.Current conditions of their property and how they felt about it (eg bills, property).Future concerns.
  • e.g. poor condition of previous accommodationeg job loss, relationship breakdown, debt, mental health problemssomething personal such as a relationship breakdownParticipants:sofa surfedSuffered relationship breakdown (familial or partner based) which caused homelessness or was brought on by homelessnessFled domestic violenceHad been homeless more than onceHad stayed in TASlept roughMethod – sliding scale of supportEverybody we saw had a forced move as a cause of homelessness – this is a general description.Housing histories fall into one of 3 types – talk around this
  • Type of support insert here
  • Exploring the Private Rented Sector. Early Findings from the “Sustain the Private Rented Sector” Project

    1. 1. Sustain PRS ProjectInterim findings 2012 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    2. 2. About Sustain A longitudinal (3 year) research project Qualitative ‘in depth’ researchTopic 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 18-20 months Focused on their experiencesResearch questions What are their outcomes and what influences their outcomes? How does living in the PRS impact wellbeing? European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    3. 3. Who we talked to 171 people People in three areas: 86 Families with children (72% lone  Greater Manchester (e.g. Stockport, parents) Bolton, Rochdale) 85 Single households (36% were  East & South East London (inner and parents) outer boroughs) One person in each household  East Sussex (e.g. Brighton, Hastings, Age range: 18-60 Eastbourne) 93 women, 78 men 65% White British Mixed recruitment through: 28% non-UK country of origin  Local Authorities (99) 35% Black and Minority Ethnic  Support agencies (72) 96% Heterosexual, 4% Homosexual  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 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    4. 4. Referrals across each regionE and SE London Greater East Sussex Manchester27 Local 42 Local 27 Localauthorities authorities authorities27 Support 16 Support 27 Supportagencies agencies agencies5 Self-referral European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    5. 5. 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. European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    6. 6. 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? European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    7. 7. Before moving into the PRS (this time)All in recognised states of A lone parent with two children becamehomelessness or housing homeless due to rent arrears. Although her rent had been paid direct to the landlordneed through Housing Benefit, she had triggered a re-assessment of her Housing Benefit claim through taking on some part-time work. ThisMany problems directly meant an alteration in her job seeker’sconnected to housing allowance (JSA) and a suspension of her Housing Benefit. She did not realise, andconditions or circumstances: because the Housing Benefit had been paid Poor conditions directly to the landlord, she was only alerted to Landlord problems the problem once three months of arrears had accumulated. Her landlord evicted her and Rent arrears became aggressive, refusing to give her rent Being given notice 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 aSome personal deposit or a guarantor, and with a bad credit history, she had few options. The local Relationship breakdown authority managed to re-house her in a new PRS property using their rent deposit scheme. European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    8. 8. 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 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    9. 9. 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. European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    10. 10. 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. European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    11. 11. “They were amazing for this whole scenario... like the help that theygave me was brilliant; it was second to none, really... Like they‟ve gotcontacts within the letting companies who understand - the landlordsthat understand the situation - you know, of a deposit, or the month‟srent - there might be problems and that. But like I was quite luckybecause I had a brilliant reference, obviously from my past landlords, Ihad a guarantor; I managed to get a Crisis loan for my first month‟srent, and the landlords European Research Conference deposit off in instalments. are letting me pay myAnd that was all arranged, pretty much, byin[support agency] for me.” Access to Housing for Homeless People Europe York, 21st September 2012
    12. 12. 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. European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    13. 13. “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 European Research Conference that first day”Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    14. 14. 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. European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    15. 15. I couldn‟t get any type of financialhelp, so now I am in a house with twochildren when I don‟t even have afridge freezer, a washer, I don‟t reallyhave anything. I have one bed, onesingle bed that we are all sleeping in,it‟s not really good. I wish I couldhave had more help there, ratherthan them saying „right here‟s yourhouse, now you are in it‟. I wishsomeone could have helped me andgiven me a bit of a lifeline, even ifthey could have given me a bit offurniture.‟ European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    16. 16. 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’. European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012
    17. 17. “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 European Research Conference is really important that I stay is limited so itAccess to Housing for Homeless People in Europe here for as long as I possibly can.” York, 21st September 2012
    18. 18. What next? Interim report published with wave 1 results http://england.shelter.org.uk/professional_resourc es/policy_and_practice/sustain Wave 2 interviews complete Long term project seeks to:  Create evidence on the sector  Outline support and policy recommendationsContact us on SustainPRS@shelter.org.uk European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012

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