We are moving into a very difficult time for lots of people. Living costs are increasing, bills are rising and wages are not keeping up with inflation or rent.
This will almost certainly lead to more homelessness, especially given that landlords can now evict people again after a ban on this during the pandemic.
In addition, it may also complicate an existing challenge facing people who want to move out of homelessness: finding a secure and comfortable home to move to. As our resettlement teams are seeing, this is becoming increasingly hard.
“There aren’t enough decent, affordable private rentals, and social housing options are incredibly limited. Right to buy has depleted stock long-term, and some landlords are less willing to rent to our customers than to other people.” says one of our resettlement workers.
“For our people, trying to move out of Evolve into new lives, there aren’t many choices available. For many the only option for moving on is multiple occupancies – places where several people live together, usually with shared amenities like a kitchen and bathroom. Whilst this can be ok for some young people, for adults, older people, and those with children or ongoing support needs this can be detrimental to their stability and independence.
The quality of this accommodation can be really poor. I’ve been to a place where the banister came off the stairs as I was walking out. Some of them are quite disgusting, dirty, with marks all over the walls and no-one managing the facilities. Some have leaking baths, and in in others there are five grown men sharing one bathroom that looks like it’s from the 1950s.
Tenants can be easily evicted for doing things that the rest of us take for granted which constitute breaches of tenancy rules, like having visitors overnight or drinking. These places are often setup by unscrupulous private landlords, who market them as supported accommodation but really make no effort with them at all. There’s very little oversight and very few inspections. It can be bad, and people should know that this is what is happening.”
It is wrong that people should be staying in sub-standard accommodation because they have no other options. Just as importantly, as our colleague went onto explain, this situation also means that people can end up homeless again more easily.
“If people move into accommodation that is not right for them, doesn’t support them and so on, they will end up homeless again not long after. They will leave or be made to leave. I worked with a young woman who recently moved on from Evolve, and now has a partner. The tenancy in her new accommodation doesn’t allow overnight visitors, so if she tries to sneak him in, she could get evicted.”
People moving on from homelessness are finding it difficult to access the quality of accommodation that they have a right to expect – that any of us would expect. With few other options, many end up moving into sub-standard shared accommodation because it’s all they can access. It’s no wonder that in many cases they end up wanting to leave and find themselves without a stable home again.
Finding a place to call home is crucial if people are to leave homelessness behind for good. If they can’t do that, breaking the cycle becomes much more difficult.
We need to ensure that we find places for people that mean they won’t be homeless again soon after. Otherwise, there is only so much we can do through the support and accommodation we offer here at Evolve. We must understand this challenge, and work to regulate landlords and multiple occupant tenancies better so that people have something to move on to after Evolve that they really want.