Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Why do tenants abandon accommodation?

May 18 2009
The reasons tenants abandon their accommodation go under a microscope in a three-year ESRC study The reasons tenants abandon their accommodation when they have been re-housed are to go under a microscope, thanks to a three-year study at the University of Sheffield. The funding for the project, known as For Home Study, comes from the Economic and Social Research Council, and is the largest grant the council has ever provided for such a study. Nearly 400 people on resettlement programmes will be invited to take part and will receive a small payment for their participation. The study will interview people aged 16 or over, including those with mental health, drug and alcohol problems, and those who have been in care and prisons. They will be surveyed before they join the resettlement programme; six months into it; and after another 12 months, when the programme ends. The researchers said they hope to understand why some re-housing programmes do not work, leading to people being evicted from their homes and caught up in an on-and-off-the-streets cycle. It will be carried out in partnership with Broadway, Centrepoint, St Mungo's, Thames Reach, Framework and St Anne's Community Services in Yorkshire. The lead researchers will be Professor Tony Warnes and Dr Maureen Crane, of the University of Sheffield. Professor Warnes said: "Homelessness organisations know that re-housing homeless people is far more complex than simply providing a roof over someone's head." He was hoping the study would determine the factors associated with resettlement and eventually help organisations understand what makes some people abandon their tenancies or be evicted. According to Prof Warnes, there is very little UK research on this issue, although some studies have been done in the US. He has been working on the proposal for this study for four years; he had presented it to the Homeless Directorate, which welcomed the proposal but could not provide funding. Other small studies suggest why rehousing programmes do not always work: "We have seen that many times the programmes don't work because the accommodation provided to people is not suitable." "A lot of people are put in shared accommodation with little respect to their individual selves. Sometimes they just don't get on with each other and they end up abandoning their homes." At the end of the study, it will be clearer what type of accommodation is suitable in different cases, Prof Warnes added. Dr Maureen Crane said: "We are determined to deliver the evidence that will enable organisations to provide more effective resettlement. If the success rate of resettlement is increased, lives will be improved and there will be significant savings in supporting those who return to homelessness."
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