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The Psychological Toll of Out-of-Area Housing for the Homeless

Out-of-Area Housing
  • Out-of-area housing negatively affects mental health, support networks, children’s education, and emotional wellbeing of homeless individuals, according to University of Nottingham research.
  • The study also highlights disproportionate placement of Black households and a lack of ethnicity data recording by some local authorities, potentially exacerbating systemic disparities.

New research from the University of Nottingham has shown that those placed out of area by their local authority are negatively impacted with mental health and a loss of support networks.

Out of Area housing is a practice where local authorities discharge their duty to accommodate homeless households by placing them in other local authority areas.

Researchers from the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham found that communication and support from local authorities was lacking once placed out of area and that moving out of area negatively affects children’s education and emotional wellbeing.

Households also found that GPs and other services, including internet services, were difficult to access, furthering their isolation and vulnerability.

The research, conducted by Dr Steve Iafrati, Dr Nick Clare and Helen Lawrence, found that more than 36,000 households were placed out of area in 2022/23.

Black households were also found to be disproportionately placed out of area, whilst some local authorities fail to record ethnicity data of the people being placed out of area.

Dr Steve Iafrati, Assistant Professor of Social Policy at the University of Nottingham, who led the research said: “Both the statistics from FOI requests and information from interviews we have conducted are deeply troubling. We clearly have a rapidly escalating problem with ‘out of area’ housing and the impact which it is having on those placed often a significant distance from their original authority.

“There is a clear and deepening issue of supply of affordable housing with a lack of transparent national housing strategy and societies most vulnerable are feeling the brunt. The fact that such a large proportion of local authorities do not record data relating to ethnicity is alarming and demonstrates that they are not able to investigate the impact of the housing crisis in terms of disproportionate impact on Black and minoritised ethnic households. Without such data, inequalities risk being hidden and out of sight only serving to further systemic disparities.”

Source: University of Nottingham

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