Call Radical Changes Intervention And Policy

Introduction

Homelessness is noted to be complex, and also synergic in nature. There are life events, processes triggering, protecting against and predicting the likelihood of an individual becoming homeless, thus implying that people’s routes towards homelessness are complex, interlinked, and multiple and often result from structural, individual, as well as political factors (Rich, 2018). This complexity is notably increasing with an individual’s age and the duration of their homelessness. This paper purposes to explore the homelessness cultures, and regards it as a counter-culture, which is created when people are pushed out of the mainstream society. It stresses that what happens to people in their past, purposes to create the nature of their homeless culture. Any attempt to resettle long-term homelessness should consider what the homeless culture offers and whether or how it could be replicated within the housed society (Quilgars et al., 2008).

This paper will demonstrate that there are various immense, complex, as well as multi-dimensional difficulties facing homeless individuals. These difficulties arise from complex structural, emotional, and behavioral factors, which are inextricably entwined within the lives of people, and at times purposes to negate positive influences or even exacerbate the existing problems. The current system is actively discouraging and preventing people from homelessness whilst encouraging them to fully re-integrate back into the housed society (Fitzpatrick et al., 2018). Radical changes are necessary, in order to tackle the issue of homelessness, and as such, this paper provides a discussion of the intervention and policy types that assist in preventing homelessness from occurring or rather, promoting meaningful re-integration into the housed society (Anderson & Christian, 2003).

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The concept of homelessness

There are various definitions to the term “homeless” as various scholars have come up with different perspectives, including homeless, rough sleepers, roofless, or hidden homeless (Rich, 2018). Despite these various definitions, it is of importance to take note of the fact that only the definition that is crucial in measuring and producing statistics across states and creating policy measures is acceptable. In this regard, this paper pays much attention to rough sleepers. According to Butler (2018), rough sleepers refers to individuals that have absolutely nowhere they call a home, and as such, they have to find themselves a place to sleep at night and this is often on the streets or even in empty buildings. These people rely on various local groups such as churches to provide them with meals and often sleep in difficult places each night.

FEANTSA has come up with a European Typology of Homelessness and housing exclusion (ETHOS), in order to improve the understandability and measurability of homelessness in Europe, and also to provide one common “language,” based on trans-national exchanges associated with homelessness (Fitzpatrick et al., 2013). Having been launched in 2005, ETHOS has served various purposes; it has been used as a framework for various debates, for the purpose of data collection and for various policy purposes (Edgar et al., 2003). ETHOS perceives homelessness differently according to different countries, and it was developed by reviewing various definitions of homelessness, as well as the realities associated with homelessness that service providers are facing daily. The categories of ETHOS attempt to cover all situations that form the basis of homelessness in Europe and these include rooflessneness, which is concerned with living without any kind of shelter (sleeping rough). Secondly, houselessness, which is concerned with having a temporary place of sleep, and thirdly is living in an insecure housing, which is threatened with exclusion because of insecure tenancies, and domestic violence (Fitzpatrick, 2005). Finally, living in an inadequate housing, either in unfit housing, extreme overcrowding or in a caravan, based on an illegal campsite.

According to the Ethos model, there are three domains, which constitute a home and they include the physical domain, which is a decent dwelling to dwell in. The second is the social domain, which is the space where individuals are able to enjoy social relations and to maintain their privacy, and finally, the legal domain, which denotes the security of occupation, as well as legal title (Edgar et al., 2003). However, it is evident that homeless individuals experience situations where they are excluded from the legal domain, physical domain and the social domain.

There are approximately 5000+ homeless individuals in London and the country regards homelessness as a distinct condition in the urban areas. There is a rapidly increasing rate of crisis in terms of housing, and the rate of unemployment is also high in the country (O’Connor, 2018). Particularly, rough sleeping is noted to have an ongoing upward trend in the UK, and the number of rough sleepers remained evident in 2017, having 169% since 2010 and by 15% since 2018. In 2017, the number grew faster, especially in Northern England by 32% and over a long term, there have been increases in Southern London (194% higher in 2017, as compared to 2010). Report indicates that in 2017, 86% of rough sleepers were men whilst 22% were non-UK nationals, whereby, of these 17% of them were rough sleepers (Fitzpatrick et al., 2018).

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Currently, there are 38,390 single-parent families in the UK, living in temporary accomodations, and this is a 54% increase for the past 5 years. This then implies that single-parent families are mostly affected by housing crisis in the UK (Fitzpatrick et al., 2018).

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Factors contributing to homelessness

There are various reasons that make people homeless and it is notable that some of these reasons make them remain homeless (Fitzpatrick, 2016). This section provides a discussion of these reasons as follows:

Firstly, politics poses as an urban problem, which renders many individuals homeless. Notably, the manner in which a country divides its resources is regarded as a political question. There is power in a situational conflict regarding homelessness, yet the leaders in authority have failed to maximize their powers, to prevent the increasing rate of homelessness (Anderson & Christian, 2003). The government has the power to decide on the rules, as well as regulations to be put in place, in order to limit wealth concentration and monopolies that relate to the same questions relating to homelessness. The government is obligated towards pursuing social justice and this includes initiating efforts that can reduce homelessness, yet this is not followed up accordingly (Fitzpatrick et al., 2011). Neglect from the government does not indicate a healthy economy and thus implies a low quality of life even for individuals who are not homeless. It is then regarded as a moral issue, rather than a political issue, in which case, the government has failed in ensuring its moral obligation for homeless citizens, as they require a political action, as well as use of various community resources to address the issues related to homelessness (Bramley & Fitzpatrick, 2018).

Secondly, there are individual factors that contribute towards homelessness. These individual vulnerabilities pose as behaviors that are implicated in some people’s homelessness and they are notably rooted in certain pressures (Ravenhill, 2016). In the UK, for every 24 hours, local authorities accept approximately 1,400 individuals as homeless and quite a number of this population (approximately 900) are rendered homeless because of individual factors such are family breakdown, bereavement, loss of employment, and addiction amongst others. Notably, increased family stress often result from issues such as domestic violence financial, or housing problems, which trigger homelessness, and when families split up, various lives are led into disarray (Bramley & Fitzpatrick, 2018). Bereavement also increases people’s vulnerability to homelessness, owing to financial difficulties, thus, leading people to lose places they call home. Another individual factor is loss of employment, as when an individual loses a job, the person cannot keep up with the daily expenses of living, thus leading to homelessness. Moreover, a high population of people develops mental health problems due to addictions in their earlier life, which increases their vulnerability to losing their homes (Anderson & Christian, 2003).

Thirdly, there are structural factors that contribute to homelessness such as housing shortage, as well as economic downturn (Fitzpatrick & Pawson, 2016). Notably, the previous UK recessions imply that the housing market trends, as well as policies, have posed a direct impact on the high levels of homelessness, and this is in line with the labor market changes that are lagged, diffused, and also strongly mediated by various welfare arrangements, as well as other contextual factors. For instance, the number of rough sleepers in various doorways of shops has doubled, since the year 2010, owing to lack of enough housing, as well as economic downturn (Butler, 2018).

Finally, the urban imagery pictures the homeless to have a rebellious meaning, in that they are noted to be individuals that are free of certain factors such as social and economic constraints. Moreover, they are regarded as free from obligations and even the norms of the middle-class society. For this reason, they are not attended to because every individual feels that they actually are less burdened and comfortable in their state (Reeve, 2017).

Problems associated with homelessness

The homeless face a high rate of hostility in the city, as they undergo difficult measures, in trying to make their life easier. Nearly all spaces of refuge that they may opt to visit are made hostile, and uncomfortable (Reeve, 2017). The spaces that they seek refuge are highly political for them to stay comfortably, as various scholars note that the act of occupying a particular urban space to sleep at night may in most instances, conflict with the urban cities officials’ definition of “proper” place for the homeless. The public spaces are highly criminalized. For instance, three years ago (2016), the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty the USA carried out a survey, based on municipal codes in precisely 187 cities. The results of the study found out that despite the housing shortages, various cities opt to criminally punish homeless individuals for engaging themselves in certain life-sustaining tasks, including sleeping in public, sitting, lying down or even loitering in public (Tsai & Rosenheck, 2015). Further analysis of the results also indicated that approximately 53% of the cities prohibited either lying down or just sitting in public places, whilst 43% of them prohibit individuals from sleeping in vehicles and 76% of them prohibit individuals from begging in certain public places. Moreover, 9% of them prohibit individuals from sharing their food with others that are experiencing homelessness (Stephenson, 2017).

Moreover, homelessness itself is regarded as an act of transgression and of contestation (Padgett et al., 2016). For these reasons, there are surveillance and control mechanisms such as policy controls, CCTVs, as well as counting of the homeless initiatives that purposes to determine their being in a particular region across the UK. The agency of the homeless is as such, noted to be their resistance, because no one is willing to stand up for them (Tsai & Rosenheck, 2015). In line with this, the anti-homeless regime is also bent on the issue of poverty exclusion, which then makes their life difficult.

The homeless have been pictured as aliens, vagrants, outcasts and non-humans, who should either be avoided, exterminated, excluded or expelled from the society. At the same time, it is evident that the homeless individuals have shorter lives, experience violent deaths due to factors such as unsustainable hunger, and lack of money to cater for medical bills. Moreover, they are prone to mental health problems and experience a higher level of loneliness (Stephenson, 2017). Additionally, there are increasingly expelled through deportations. Finally, ethnographic research indicates that there is resilience, as well as survival strategies for the homeless. For instance, the economy associated with homelessness is low as they experience a high rate of poverty, as compared to those who have a place they call a home. Moreover, they experience a high rate of hostility in the streets that they sleep in, owing to the fact that the UK has set policies that hinder homelessness and which in turn put the homeless individuals to blame (Wardhaugh, 2017). These policies require that the homeless should exercise sufficient effort towards change, without focusing on the overall economic, as well as social conditions.

The policy that prevents homelessness: Homelessness Reduction Act 2018

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2018 purposed to bring forth a relief for the homeless, which is meant to extend to the future. This Act has led to improved advice, as well as information regarding homelessness and significantly, how the government can prevent it. Secondly, it extends the period that is threatened with homelessness, and thirdly, it provides new duties that aid in preventing and relieving homelessness for all individuals that are eligible, regardless of intentionality and priority need. Fourthly, it provides assessments, as well as personalized housing plans and also sets out actions that can secure accommodation. Finally, it encourages public bodies to be able to work together, thus, relieving and preventing homelessness (Gov. UK, 2018).

However, despite all these significant aims of the act, it is worth noting that it faces challenges, provided as follows: First, the act fails to confront various underlying factors such as house benefit cuts, insecurity in the private sector tenancies, as well as lack of affordable housing (Whiteford & Simpson, 2016). The second challenge is presented by a good example, Southwark borough, where this act was piloted for the first year, which brought forth positive impacts. However, it was notably expensive whereby, there needed to be a topped up £1M of the government grant, with a total of £750,000. In this regard, it becomes difficult to keep up adopting the Act (Wardhaugh, 2017).

Overall, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2018 has garnered a great significance, as well as a high rate of growing cross-sectoral support (Gov. UK, 2018). Whereas there are concerns relating to the adequacy of the funding burdens, as well as other challenges that should be granted to local authorities that can support the implementation of the Act, it is evident that there are fundamental issues relating to the growing structural difficulties, which local authorities face whilst securing affordable housing for various homeless applicants.

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Conclusion

Based on the provisions presented in this paper, it is evident that homelessness is a complex issue, which is also multi-layered. Life events predict the likelihood of an individual becoming homeless, thus implying that people’s routes towards homelessness are complex, interlinked, and multiple and often result from structural, behavioral, as well as biographic factors. Homelessness has various definitions. However, it is of importance to take note of the fact that only the definition that is crucial in measuring and producing statistics across states and creating policy measures is acceptable. ETHOS provides a definitive definition, which covers all aspects of homeless living. The factors contributing towards homelessness include politics, individual factors, and structural factors. On the other hand, some of the negative consequences associated with homelessness include an increasingly hostile environment in urban areas and lack of space amongst other consequences. The UK government brought forth the Homelessness Reduction Act 2018 to aid in reducing the prevalence of homeliness. However, it is evident that this Act has faced various challenges, despite its contribution to the homeless in the society

References

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