This research project for Commonweal Housing aimed to systematise our thinking about the nature of the social injustices involved in the exempt sub-sector and the potential for solutions.
It sought to:
- Fully clarify and articulate the key social injustices within the exempt sub-sector
- Assess the feasibility of potential solutions to the identified injustices
- Propose new ways of working at system, property and practice levels, and
- Suggest recommendations for further action, development and change
It found that the exempt accommodation sector has grown primarily as a response to the exclusion of large numbers of mainly single hidden homeless people from other more suitable housing options, and is thus likely to continue as a key feature of housing and homelessness systems. In particular, it found:
- Commissioned supported housing and more ‘mainstream’ accommodation for low income and vulnerable groups (which often exclude more people than they provide for)
- Housing Benefit (where perverse incentive systems are often delivering funding to some of the least appropriate forms of provision), and
- Regulation (where some of the most poorly-managed properties experience the lowest levels of regulatory oversight and interventions are lightest in relation to the impact on residents).
The report draws out three types of resultant injustices for analysis; namely, Social Harm and Risk, User Voice and Employment and Social Integration. To this end, it makes a number of property-related solutions and considers how system changes and practice reforms could eradicate injustice.