I am one of the researchers working on the project and have been involved in interviewing key services across Stoke to explore responses to homelessness from a service provider perspective. I am off to the Australasian Housing Researchers’ Conference (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/churp/ahrc12/) next week to present our findings from these interviews.
This is the abstract for my presentation:
The response to homelessness in the UK has moved away from focusing specifically on housing policy to a recognition of the complex needs of those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. A key characteristic has been an emphasis on multi-agency working at a local level. This paper reports on findings emerging from a two-year study into homelessness in a UK city. The project as whole explored the life histories of people experiencing homelessness as well as focusing on the context in which homelessness services were delivered in the city. To this end, a number of people working in the ‘homeless industry’ were interviewed about the issues impacting upon their work. Based upon these interviews, this paper focuses on the response of service providers towards homelessness, exploring the mobilisation of multi-agency working, and examining how service providing professionals talk about the people they work with and alongside. It highlights an increasing ‘professionalization’ of key services, a hierarchy of organizations and a conflict between cooperation and competition in multi-agency working. Overall, it illustrates that competition between services, coupled with the ‘financial crisis’, has created an environment where organizations more often work with those individuals deemed most likely to ‘succeed’. Consequently, supporting individuals with the most complex needs remained a key issue for service providers.
We would welcome comments on any of the issues raised above…