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Addressing Homelessness Challenges Solutions and Resident Participation

  • 12 Pages
  • Published On: 05-12-2023
Executive Summary

Homelessness is one of the emerging concerns that are being faced by the nations. In this connection, the current report focused towards identifying the disadvantages that are faced by some groups pof people while deriving affordable housing solutions from the social landlords. The report also demonstrated the manner in which Universal Credit applications has increased the risks of credit arrears. Lastly, the report devised strategies and need for resident participation with the purpose of resolving the concerns. The overall purpose of the report was to identify the challenges and the best practices in order to overcome the concerns.

Introduction

Social landlords take the initiative of developing and distributing safe and secured housing solutions to the needy while relying mostly on the government funding. It has been observed that the social housing and the active participation of the landlords in promoting and distributing the housing propositions to the homeless or the lower income groups are essential towards minimizing homelessness in the nations. However, it has been observed that some of the groups are unable to access the good housing services from the social landlords which have been affecting their interests (Sendra and Fitzpatrick 2020). The severity of the concern has significantly affected the capability of the social landlords in maintaining availability of their affordable home based services to their clients or needy tenants.

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The disadvantages that are faced by some groups in accessing good housing services from social landlords

The major concern that is being faced by some of the groups in accessing good housing services are based on the categorization of the people and the favouritism of the social landlords in providing properties to their own community members over the other tenants from the other communities. Duck (2017) stated that favouritism is one of the malicious practices that are undertaken by the social landlords while offering the properties at an affordable rates to the needy tenants. In this relation, it has been witnessed that most of the social landlords focuses towards sustainable procurement of the dues which limits the scope of the tenants belonging to the lower income groups in availing the services or the properties. On the other hand, biases towards the caste and religion of the tenants are an important consideration that is made by the social landlords while making the properties available to the tenants (Fitzpatrick and Watts 2017).

The biases on the castes, creed or religion of the tenants limits the scope of tenants in acquiring safe and healthy property solutions in affordable prices from their social landlords. Junnilainen (2020) stated that the incapability of the social landlords in adhering to the equality and diversity based practices are mostly the major concerns that have been affecting the capability of the tenants in improving their acquisitions. The severity of the concern is specifically based on the increasing rate of homelessness. The governments of different economies take on the initiative of empowering the activities of the social landlords through grants and funds in order to reduce the impact of homelessness while providing affordable home solutions to the lower income groups.

However, the biased approach of the social landlords might limit the scope of the objectives that are being emphasized by the governments in abolishing the impact of homelessness and poor or unsafe housing facility for the people. In this relation, social landlords like Diane Bellinger has taken the initiative of maintaining a non-n discriminatory policy while providing facilities to the needy low income groups through a method of ‘first come first serve’ (Kreslake 2019). On the other hand, Anthony Murray, another reputed social landlord took the initiative of attracting government funds in order to improve the prospects of their projects while offering maximum safe home facilities to the lower income groups in affordable prices (Hernández et al. 2019). Therefore, the activities has significantly contributed towards realizing the mission and goals of the government in providing the lower income groups with the needed secure shelter and reduce the impacts of homelessness.

Universal Credit and its impact on increased rent arrears

Universal Credit is a social security payment that is made in UK and Scotland with the purpose of supporting the working age people with a lower household income rate. People are entitled with the Universal Credit in situations where they are having a low income, they are facing a lay off from their current work place and when one cannot work due to certain physical constraints. The concept and proposition of the Universal Credit has significantly supported the people belonging to the lower income groups in paying off their dues with an increasing rent trend in the sustainable or social housing arena. Cheetham et al. (2019) stated that Universal Credit might be taken as a method of the governments in supporting the lives of the people and assisting them to sustain in the crisis moments of joblessness. However, it has been observed that the issue of Universal credit has increased the concern towards increased rent arrears through short term cash- flow.

The elongated waiting period of six weeks after joining the Universal Credit increases the risk of rent arrears for the tenants. Brewer et al. (2020) stated in a research that Universal Credit has subsequent concerns with the cash rolling out after six weeks from the enrolment of a tenant while the rent arrears starts piling up for around 28% of the tenants. in this relation, it has been observed that the Universal Credit has created opportunities along with significant challenges while contributing towards the rent arrears that are being faced by the tenants in the early stages of their cycle with continuance in the later years. In specific cases, it has been observed that the reduction in the waiting period from six weeks to a two week’s time supports the tenants in reducing the impact of the rent arrears.

The risk of the residents is specifically based on their lower affordability towards making the payment of their rents while waiting for six weeks after being enrolled for the Universal Credit application (Finch and Gardiner 2018). On the other hand, the continuity of their rent arrears creates a burden and increased risk towards the residents in the long term period of their occupancy. On the other hand, it has been witnessed that Universal Credit does not pay off the housing costs in supported or temporary accommodation which might significantly affect the interests of the landlords and the tenants simultaneously (Perry and Stephens 2018). The considerations and regulatory requirements of the Universal Credit Applications thereby might be considered as major concerns for the tenants or the landlords with an increasing rate of rent arrears (Howard and Bennett 2020). The increased backlogs in the rent payments might result to bad debts which increases the scope of risks for both the tenants and the landlords. In this connection, landlords like

Accent Housing Limited and Bedford Citizens Housing Association Limited has taken the initiative of devising a government contractual service with the purpose of supporting the needs of the tenants while providing the same with proper documentation on the properties (Scanlon 2017). Proper documentation on the properties is essential for reducing the waiting period of six weeks after the enrolment in Universal Credit services. Therefore, it might be considered as a best practice on the part of the landlords to support the needy tenants in acquiring the government grants and reducing the risk of rent arrears.

Resident participation with reference to Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation

Tenant and resident participation includes the proactive engagement or involvement of the local communities and the residents in the decisions that might affect their homes or communities. The participation of the residents and the tenants are specifically guided by their interests of the stake that is being held by the same. In this connection, the proactive participation of the tenants and the residents in the decision making process is integral towards improving the living standards while identifying and resolving their risks. According to Gaber (2019), the resident participation is considered to be an integral part of the housing management activities that are undertaken by the government, local authorities, housing associations and the tenants themselves.

The proactive engagement of the tenants in the different developmental decisions while identifying their concerns supports the government and the housing associations in developing mitigation strategies. In most of the cases, it has been observed that the lack of sufficient engagement or involvement of the tenants or the residents in the decision making process affects the capability of the housing associations or the government in identifying and resolving the concerns. The insufficiency of mitigation on the concerns that are being encountered by the tenants or the residents affects their interests while reducing the success factors of the government projects for supporting the social causes. Ciaffi (2019) stated that the housing associations and the governments encourage the proactive engagement of the residents through feedbacks and communication of their concerns with the purpose of maintaining an inclusionary approach towards problem solving.

The Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation identified eight critical steps that might be considered in order to encourage and influence the participation of the citizens or the residents in a community while devising housing management solutions. The utilization of the Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation supports the government and the housing associations in improving the degree of involvement of the residents and the tenants in the different decisions. The manipulation and therapy stage aims towards encouraging the active involvement of the communities and the different residents in the different decisions that are made by the government. In this stage, persuasive and influential techniques are used by the government, state agencies and the housing associations for driving the attention of the residents and making the same aware of the different stakes that they hold towards improving the community outlines and housing infrastructure. Botchwey et al. (2019) opined that the manipulation and therapy are the common practices that are undertaken by the authorities and housing associations, while following the Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation, in order to drive the attention of the people and influence their involvement in the different developmental projects. Therefore, the stage might be conceived as a promotional aspect which supports the authorities and the housing associations in convincing and winning over the trust of the residents and the communities.

The Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation involves a stage where the authorities and the housing associations takes part in informing the residents, tenants and communities, undertaking consultation sessions and placation related activities with the purpose of increasing the knowledge and awareness of the common people. Gaber (2019) stated that the increased knowledge and awareness of the common people contributes towards increasing their engagement while realizing their own stake and interests that are involved in the housing development related activities. It has been observed that the real resident participation is an integral part which focuses towards identifying and resolving the different concerns for efficient housing management practices. The consultation and information sharing activities assist the authorities and the government agencies in identifying the concerns that are being encountered by the people while communicating the measures from their end in order to influence proactive association of the residents and the communities.

Lastly, the authorities and the government agencies take the initiative of making use of the community power through developing partnerships with the community stakeholders, delegate power and decision making aspects among the different responsible residents and finding ways for controlling the citizens or the residents. The aspects are important towards improving the prospects on community involvement in the developmental activities while driving subtle changes in the housing infrastructures in order to suit the changing needs of the people. Ciaffi (2019) stated that the proactive involvement of the people in the different developmental activities and decision making systems support in widening the scope of housing management. The lucid identification of the concerns that are being encountered by the people and developing resolution strategies are integral towards the development and growth of the different business operations for initiating the growth and development activities. Therefore, it might be observed that the proactive participation of the community stakeholders is an integral aspect that supports the continuous development of strategic interventions towards the concerns that are being encountered by the residents or tenants.

Brentwood Housing Trust Limited and Bridge Care Limited are some of the most reputed housing associations where the landlords specifically focus towards maintaining an inclusionary approach for increasing the scope of housing management. In this connection, the landlords have taken the initiative of encouraging the active engagement of the community stakeholders while addressing their stakes and interests. Therefore, it might be stated that the social landlords take the initiative of integrating different best practices in order to influence the engagement of the residents.

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Conclusion

Therefore, from the above research it has been observed that the social landlords operate in a collaborative basis with the local government and state authorities or the housing associations with the purpose of addressing to the affordable housing based needs. However, the research devised a clear understanding on the disadvantages that are encountered by some groups of people while deriving affordable housing solutions from the social landlords. Moreover, it has been observed that the application of Universal Credit has been increasing the credit arrears. The research devised some of the best practices that might be considered by the social landlords along with encouraging the participation of the residents in order to overcome the challenges.

References

Botchwey, N.D., Johnson, N., O’Connell, L.K. and Kim, A.J., 2019. Including youth in the ladder of citizen participation: Adding rungs of consent, advocacy, and incorporation. Journal of the American Planning Association, 85(3), pp.255-27

Brewer, M., Joyce, R., Waters, T. and Woods, J., 2020. A method for decomposing the impact of reforms on the long-run income distribution, with an application to universal credit. Economics Letters, 192, p.109230.

Cheetham, M., Moffatt, S., Addison, M. and Wiseman, A., 2019. Impact of Universal Credit in North East England: a qualitative study of claimants and support staff. BMJ open, 9(7), p.e029611.

Ciaffi, D., 2019. Sharing the Commons as a'New Top'of Arnstein's Ladder of Participation. Built Environment, 45(2), pp.162-172.

Duck, W., 2017. The Complex dynamics of trust and legitimacy: Understanding interactions between the police and poor black neighborhood residents. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 673(1), pp.132-149.

Finch, D. and Gardiner, L., 2018. Back in credit? Universal Credit after Budget 2018. report. https://www. resolutionfoundation. org/app/uploads/2018/11/Back-in-Credit-UC-after-Budget-2018. pdf.

Fitzpatrick, S. and Watts, B., 2017. Competing visions: security of tenure and the welfarisation of English social housing. Housing Studies, 32(8), pp.1021-1038.

Gaber, J., 2019. Building “A Ladder of Citizen Participation” Sherry Arnstein, Citizen Participation, and Model Cities. Journal of the American Planning Association, 85(3), pp.188-201.

Hernández, D., Swope, C.B., Azuogu, C., Siegel, E. and Giovenco, D.P., 2019. ‘If I pay rent, I’m gonna smoke’: Insights on the social contract of smokefree housing policy in affordable housing settings. Health & place, 56, pp.106-117.

Howard, M. and Bennett, F., 2020. Payment of Universal Credit for couples in the UK: Challenges for reform from a gender perspective. International Social Security Review, 73(4), pp.75-96.

Junnilainen, L., 2020. Place narratives and the experience of class: Comparing collective destigmatization strategies in two social housing neighborhoods.

Kreslake, J.M., 2019. Perceived importance of climate change adaptation and mitigation according to social and medical factors among residents of impacted communities in the United States. Health equity, 3(1), pp.124-133.

Perry, J. and Stephens, M., 2018. How the purpose of social housing has changed and is changing. UK Housing Review, pp.29-39.

Scanlon, K., 2017. Social housing in England: affordable vs''affordable''. Critical Housing Analysis, 4(1), p.21.

Sendra, P. and Fitzpatrick, D., 2020. Community-Led Regeneration: A Toolkit for Residents and Planners (p. 184). UCL Press.

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