Risk, Safety and Wellbeing in Shared ‘Exempt’ Accommodation in Birmingham, England

Risk, Safety and Wellbeing in Shared ‘Exempt’ Accommodation Cover

This exploratory study for the Homes and Communities Research Group, in collaboration with Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board (BSAB) and Spring Housing seeks to help better understand and improve the exempt accommodation sub-sector in Birmingham.

It provides short term accommodation for 10,000 vulnerable people in Birmingham. However, better understanding of exempt accommodation is essential in responding to recent policies such as the Homelessness Reduction Act and changes to funding for supported housing. In particular, it identified a range of issues within the exempt sub-sector, operating and often intersecting at regulatory, policy, systems and practice levels. These included:

  • The lack of stringent regulation and monitoring around the assessment and dissemination of rental claims at ‘exempt’ rates
  • The lack of effective data recording and monitoring of types of provider, and the geographical locations of units
  • The limited ability for a range of enforcement and regulatory avenues to effectively monitor and address the risks to the safety and wellbeing of residents
  • The multiple and untracked referral routes into the sub-sector and the varying, or impeded, attention to personal safety and risk mitigation
  • The lack of transparency and understanding about what the sub-sector is ‘offering’ to residents, and attendant concerns about whether it is equipped to meet resident need
  • The high proportion of multiply excluded, disadvantaged or at-risk individuals feeling ‘forced’ into the sub-sector with little perceived choice, control or awareness of rights and options, and
  • The negative impacts on resident wellbeing, safety and autonomy that result from living in small, shared environments; often with little monitoring or accommodation provider strategies for integration and stability

Also find their follow up report, ‘Exempt from Responsibility? Ending Social Injustice in Exempt Accommodation Research and Feasibility Report’.