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Socially excluding housing support to homeless substance misusers: Two Swedish case studies of special category housing
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1203-9872
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8158-0486
Responsible organisation
2006 (English)In: International Journal of Social Welfare, ISSN 1369-6866, E-ISSN 1468-2397, Vol. 15, no 2, 162-171 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses special category housing for homeless addicts, based on case studies of two different housing programmes, using both qualitative and quantitative data. The staff and residents were interviewed about their experiences of the programmes. Longitudinal data was collected on various indicators of substance misuse and the frequency of contact with the social services at different levels. Our findings show that the special category housing has positive direct effects on the housing stability of the residents and their feelings regarding their quality of life, but not on their substance misuse. However, the increased housing stability seems to be more a direct effect of them staying on the programme, rather than a long-term effect. Furthermore, although their quality of life improves, the residents still experience a lack of belonging and that their lives lack a meaningful content. The choice of special category housing as an intervention model thus seems to perpetuate rather than prevent social exclusion and can possibly be described as an expression of institutionalised resignation

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 15, no 2, 162-171 p.
Keyword [en]
housing support, social exclusion, substance misuse, homeless, special category housing, Sweden
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-341DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2006.00385.xISI: 000235985100007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-33644972890Local ID: 3583OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-341DiVA: diva2:1953
Available from: 2008-12-15 Created: 2008-12-04 Last updated: 2016-09-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ett folkhem för alla?: Kommunala insatser mot hemlöshet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ett folkhem för alla?: Kommunala insatser mot hemlöshet
2008 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The overarching aim of this dissertation is to explore and describe Swedish local authorities’ measures to prevent and manage homelessness; how these measures diverge between different municipal categories; what factors predict homelessness, provisions of accommodation and cov-erage rates between the number of accommodations and the respective municipalities’ housing interventions.

Measures studied are policies and housing interventions. The housing interventions re-ferred to here are those provided by or through the social welfare authorities to persons living with unstable housing or who are homeless. The interventions can be divided into two main categories: 1) preventive interventions in the form of daily-life support, usually in the form of personnel support in the individual’s own apartment, designed to help persons at risk of becom-ing homeless to remain housed and prevent eviction; 2) accommodation support for persons who are already homeless and in need of housing. Such accommodations may be more or less temporary, more or less integrated and include a greater or lesser amount of care.

Two sets of data were collected for the study: 1) a case study of two category-housing programmes using both qualitative and quantitative data; 2) a survey of 147 randomly chosen municipalities (about half of the municipalities in Sweden) to explore the prevalence and charac-teristics of policies and housing interventions.

Findings from the case study show that special-category housing has positive direct effects on the housing stability of the residents and their feelings regarding their quality of life, but does not have a direct effect on their substance misuse. Moreover, the increased housing stability seems to be more a direct effect of the person having stayed on the programme, rather than a long-term effect. Furthermore, although their quality of life improves, the residents still experi-ence a lack of belonging and feel that their lives lack meaningful content.

On the national level, the findings show that an array of housing interventions divided into 12 sub-categories is offered to counteract homelessness. These categories vary along two central dimensions: care and normality. The two most frequent types of housing interventions in all types of municipalities are daily-life support and social contracts. Other housing interventions are marginal compared with these two. There is greater fluctuation between municipalities in the level of care provided than in the level of normality. Furthermore, the more densely populated municipalities are more highly engaged in developing housing policies and the administrative means to handle them. Such policies, however, seem to decrease the level of normality without promoting levels of care.

When exploring factors that predict homelessness, the findings show that urbanisation is central to understanding variations in homelessness, not only in the largest cities but also in less densely populated areas. In addition, higher rent levels and more of aggregated psychiatric prob-lems in the municipality seem to increase homelessness. The apartment rate and the proportion of public housing within the stock of apartments are both important for the possibility to pro-vide accommodations. Moreover, the proportion of single-parent households seems to enhance the need to provide such accommodations. Political majority and the functional organisation of the social services both seem to have an impact on the coverage rates. Thus, the findings indicate that the municipalities have various options for managing factors that impact on the homeless-ness rate.

Keywords: housing interventions, level of care, level of normality, policies, municipality, predicting homelessness

Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 49
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-205 (URN)978-91-85317-92-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-23, F229, F, Campus, Östersund, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-05-09 Created: 2008-05-09Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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