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Normality or care: An inventory of Swedish municipalities’ responses to unstable accommodation for vulnerable groups
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1203-9872
Responsible organisation
2008 (English)In: European Journal of Social Work, ISSN 1369-1457, E-ISSN 1468-2664, Vol. 11, no 4, 397-413 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents an inventory of policies and housing support interventions to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in a representative sample of Swedish municipalities. Two types of intervention are included: various types of accommodation for those who are already homeless and daily life support for those at risk, either provided or financed by the social services in the municipality. Data were collected in 2004-2005 through a questionnaire e-mailed to local authority officials, in a stratified sample of about half of the Swedish municipalities (n=147). The results show that two types of housing intervention dominate the field: daily life support and sublet contracts, both of which have a relatively high normality factor, with a setting in normal housing. Daily life support includes care and is usually implemented before the tenant is evicted. The level of care related to various interventions fluctuates more between the municipalities than normality does. The more densely populated municipalities were more engaged in developing housing policies and administrative bodies to handle these. However, the implementation of housing policies does not seem related to improvements in the qualities of the interventions. On the contrary, the local authorities that have housing policies and administrative tools adapted to these policies provided a lower degree of both normality and care in the interventions. The results suggest that aspects of normality and care in the same type of housing interventions vary depending on the type of municipality, while the existence of policies has no influence on care and a negative effect on the degree of normality provided through the interventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 11, no 4, 397-413 p.
Keyword [sv]
beondeinsatser; policy; osäker boendesituation; socialtjänst; omsorg och normalitet
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-343DOI: 10.1080/13691450802075576ISI: 207680000006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-57649238604OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-343DiVA: diva2:1955
Available from: 2008-12-12 Created: 2008-12-04 Last updated: 2012-09-27Bibliographically 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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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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