Homelessness And Its Causes Social Work Essay

Homelessness is non a job of Irish authorities lodging policy ; it is a job of persons. In order to discourse this statement both structural and single causes of homelessness will hold to be examined. There are a figure of personal issues which contribute to the complex issue of homelessness, and how much these contribute to a single going homeless in Ireland will hold to be determined. Both statutory and voluntary bureaus involved in the country of service proviso for the homeless have different positions on the definition of homelessness, and both definitions will necessitate to be explored. Over the old ages in Ireland the authorities has attempted to turn to the stateless issue with assorted Acts of the Apostless and schemes and I feel it would be necessary to reexamine the execution and impact of such intercessions on the homeless job. Finally the impact of authorities lodging policy on homelessness will hold to be examined and discussed.

Homelessness and its causes can non be easy explained. Both structural and single issues interact to lend to this complex job. Personal jobs such as psychiatric unwellnesss, domestic force, poorness, unemployment, dependence and disablement are merely some of the jobs that are believed to lend to an person ‘s tract to homelessness. Leaving province attention such as prisons or psychiatric infirmaries, without the proper precautions being put in topographic point can besides be a factor in an single going homeless. With respect to the definition of the term homelessness, it was n’t until the 1988 Housing Act that the first legal definition of homelessness was introduced.

1988 Housing Act

Unlike a figure of states throughout the European Union, soon a right to lodging does non be in Ireland. However, there has been policy and statute law enacted to help those who can non afford lodging in geting their ain place. The 1988 Housing Act obligates local governments to transport out appraisals every three old ages, of those who are in demand of lodging or who are stateless. In respect to homelessness this Act cleared up earlier confusion as to which statutory organic structure was responsible for the homeless, by go forthing duty at the door of the local authorization. Prior to this, under the 1953 Health Act, the Health Authority was responsible for supplying aid to those who were incapable of supplying shelter for themselves. Although this Act does non compel local governments to supply adjustment, it does how of all time “ license ” such governments to help the homeless. Besides prior to this, under the Vagrancy Act, stateless people were frequently extremely criminalised for such offenses as rolling abroad, non being able to give a good history of 1s egos and non holding any seeable agencies of subsistence. The Act changed this by taking such offenses off the legislative act books. Another proviso of the Act authorises local governments to supply aid to approved voluntary bureaus involved in the country of proviso of public assistance and lodging for the homeless. An of import portion of this act was the first legal definition of homelessness. Under Section Two of the Act a individual is classified as homeless if:

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there is no adjustment available and which, in the sentiment of the authorization, he, together with any other individual who usually resides with him or who might moderately be expected to shack with him, can reasonably occupy or remain in business of, or

( B ) he is populating in a infirmary, county place, dark shelter or other such establishment, and

is so living because he has no adjustment of the sort referred to in paragraph ( a ) , and he is, in the sentiment of the authorization, unable to supply adjustment

from his ain resources.

While voluntary bureaus welcomed this first legal definition of homelessness there were some unfavorable judgments of the Act. Focus Ireland, a taking voluntary administration in the proviso of services to the homeless, believed the Act failed to travel far plenty. One of their chief unfavorable judgments of the Act was its failure to lawfully compel local governments to supply lodging for the homeless. Equally good as this, they believed the act was excessively narrow and did non supply for those at hazard of homelessness. Focus Ireland divides homelessness into three wide classs ; the seeable homeless, the concealed homeless and those at hazard of homelessness. The seeable homeless are those kiping unsmooth or those shacking in exigency adjustment such as B & A ; B ‘s or shelters. The concealed homeless are households or persons involuntarily sharing with friends of household, in insecure, inadequate and frequently sub-standard adjustment. Finally those at hazard of being homeless, these are people who have lodging but are likely to go stateless due to economic troubles such as rent being excessively high, insecure adjustment or wellness troubles ( Focus Ireland, 2002 ) .

Reappraisals of the impact of the1988 Housing Act on homelessness

Follow up reappraisals of the execution of 1988 Housing Act painted a black image in respect to its impact on the job of homelessness. Kelleher ‘s ( 1990 ) reappraisal stated that the Act had minimum affect on the job and that greater co-ordination needed to be between statuary and voluntary bureaus involved in the bringing of services to the homeless. He besides pointed to the demand for the development of a lodging forum, dwelling of both statutory and voluntary bureaus to undertake the job. Two old ages after this, in 1992, Lawless and Dillon carried out a study on local governments throughout the state and found that merely five governments had staff specifically trained to provide for the demands of the homeless. This led to governments supplying basic shelter, with really small services being developed to provide for the demands of the homeless ( O’Sullivan, 2005 ) . These surveies were indicating to the demand for co-ordination between services, but it was n’t until about eight old ages subsequently that the authorities acknowledged that such an attack was required.

Homeless schemes

The 2000 Homelessness: An Integrated Strategy, was the first existent recognition by authorities that an incorporate attack to the job of homelessness was required to undertake the job. The study found that a broad assortment of services existed for the homeless, but really small co-ordination existed between these services. Another portion of the study suggested that the bulk of services focused chiefly on exigency demands such as shelter and nutrient and as a consequence stateless people became stuck in such adjustment. The study suggested that the focal point needed to be more on traveling people out of homelessness and, in concurrence with this, seting preventive steps in topographic point that would forestall homelessness. An of import portion of the scheme was to unclutter up earlier confusion as to who had duty for run intoing the different demands of the homeless. “ The scheme clearly states that local governments are responsible for run intoing the adjustment and lodging demands of people who are stateless, while wellness boards are responsible for run intoing their wellness and attention demands ” ( www.homelessagency.ie ) . In 2004 the Simon Community, a voluntary administration involved in presenting services to the homeless reviewed the Integrated Strategy. They believed that through concentrating on the complexnesss of homelessness, the scheme takes off from the fact that the foremost demand of person who is homeless is lodging ( www.simoncommunity.com ) .

As portion of the overall homeless scheme, in 2002 the authorities introduced the Homeless Preventative Strategy. The cardinal component in this scheme was to guarantee that no 1 left province attention without steps being taken to guarantee they had a topographic point to populate upon go forthing. This included people go forthing prisons, infirmaries and juvenile Centres. While there have been betterments in this country, there is still much to be achieved.

These schemes have had an impact on the homeless job but the recent freezing in support for homeless services by the HSE has put the accomplishments of the last 7 old ages in hazard. A new undertaking ran by the De Paul Trust, which was traveling to supply 30 new places to those traveling from exigency adjustment, could non travel in front due to miss of support. A figure of other services have besides being affected by this deficiency of support ( The Irish Times, 2008 ) .

Housing Policy

The term Housing policy is used to depict policy implemented by authorities in respect to the lodging market. Blackwell ( 1988, p75 ) defined lodging policy as “ any calculated class of action which is designed to impact lodging conditions ” . Through policy and statute law, the authorities intervenes to make a good organized lodging market. This can be done through direct intercessions such as puting minimal criterions for lodging conditions every bit good as straight supplying lodging ( local authorization lodging ) to the populace. In add-on to this authorities may supply revenue enhancement alleviation and province loans to people buying their ain places, every bit good as supplying public assistance ( rent allowance ) to those on low incomes who are leasing in the private sector. The province can besides move to find which beginning of term of office will be prevailing within society ( Quinn et al, 1999 ) .

The three types of term of office that exist within Ireland are proprietor occupied, societal lodging and the private sector. In Ireland today the type of term of office promoted by authorities is that of proprietor occupied. This is shown in figures produced by euro stat ( ? ? ) that 82.3 per centum of the Irish population are populating in proprietor occupied lodging, compared to an EU norm of 63.4 per centum. Since the 1970s the Irish authorities have promoted this type of term of office in a figure of ways ; through revenue enhancement alleviation, the waiving of stamp responsibility on the buying of new places, etc. In add-on, the authorities has besides made it possible for low income families who are leasing local authorization lodging to buy their houses at a lower than normal monetary values, shared ownership, low-cost lodging. Although the publicity of this type of term of office appears ideal in theory it has the unsought consequence of excepting those who can non afford such lodging ( www.cori.ie ) .

Housing demand

Obliged by the 1988 Housing Act in 1991, local governments carried out a count on those in demand of lodging and the figure recorded was 23,242 with — — of these being homeless. Two old ages subsequently a farther count reported an addition of over 5000 and the figure stood at 28,624 with stateless people doing up? ? ? . Both these counts took into consideration those who were on the waiting list and those who were non. Voluntary bureaus working with the homeless challenged the cogency of these counts and were extremely critical of methods used to carry on the count. In response to these unfavorable judgments, authorities commissioned the Economic and Social Research Institute to look into the unfavorable judgments of the count, and it was concluded that an undercount had taking topographic point. One of the chief concerns of this study was that local governments lacked the accomplishments and cognition required to react efficaciously to issues that frequently accompanied homelessness, such as dependence or mental wellness jobs. It recommended greater co-ordination between voluntary bureaus and the wellness board and highlighted the demand for elucidation concerning policy in relation to the lodging of one-man families by local governments. Due to the deficit of societal lodging being provided and the go oning growing in Numberss of families on the waiting list, there was really small proviso for the lodging of one- individual families ( O’Sullivan, 2005 ) .

Lack of societal lodging

One of the effects of authorities advancing the term of office of place ownership is the deficiency of resources being allocated to the term of office of societal lodging. In 1996 there were 27,427 families on the local authorization lodging waiting list and by 2002 this had grown to 48,400. The 2005 count saw a little lessening at 43, 684. At this rate it would take until 2033 to extinguish the current waiting list and this is supplying there are no new entrants to the waiting list ( www.cori.ie ) . Naturally households are given precedence when it comes to the order of choosing those on the waiting list for local authorization lodging. Its interesting to observe that ( ) % of the homeless are single families and this really fact means that they are necessarily non a precedence for local authorization lodging. In an article written by McVerry & A ; Carrol ( 2007 ) they believed one of the chief obstructions to turn toing the stateless issue was the failure by authorities in the proviso of long term adjustment. An interesting fact in this article was outgo on homeless services in Dublin, the budget which stands at 54 million a twelvemonth is the equivalent of disbursement a‚¬74 a twenty-four hours per homeless individual, with the monetary value of a mortgage for 1st clip purchasers standing at a‚¬46,22 ( presuming an mean house monetary value of a‚¬270,000 ) . They felt the cardinal instrument in turn toing homelessness was foremost supplying suited long term adjustment and so supply a service which would back up the person or household in keeping such adjustment. This attack, they believed would greatly decrease the demand for the web of services that presently exist to turn to the stateless issue ( www.cfj.ie ) .


In decision, it can be seen that there are a huge sum of fortunes that contribute to an person or households going homeless. Stating that homelessness is a job of persons seems to be excessively simplistic a position and fails to let for the failure of Irish authorities to supply lodging for one of the most vulnerable groups in society. Although the authorities has increased support in undertaking the job of homelessness, the inquiry has to be asked, has this support being used sagely? It seems as if the cart has been put before the Equus caballus every bit far as turn toing the issue of homelessness is concerned. If there ‘s to be any significant advancement made in turn toing the homeless issue, supplying lodging has to be the primary aim. After turn toing this really basic demand, services need to be developed to help people in keeping such accomodation.

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.simoncommunity.com/uploads/File/position/Taking % 20the % 20Integrated % 20Strategy % 20Forward % 20Feb % 2004.pdf

The Irish times, February, 28, 2008

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.homelessagency.ie/about_homelessness/integratedStrategy.html

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.cfj.ie/content/view/152/96/


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