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Housing Support

Views on housing associations varied.

“Housing associations are playing a bigger part now and they’re getting back into the community… back in the day they just dealt with the rent, they never wanted to know anything about the community. So I think housing associations have kind of changed their views and they want the areas they cover to be better.” [focus group 18-21]

“I think housing associations aren’t shy anymore. I think years ago where areas were rough they kept them away. They’re going into them, kinda tackling them.” [focus group 18-21]

Young people expressed frustration and confusion about barriers to accessing housing and why some were prioritised above other people in the system.

 “People are coming from x to y, it’s not even people from here getting the houses.” [focus group 14-17]

“There’s people that are on the housing list for years sometimes. I had a house up there and it was a two bedroom but there was four of us so we had to move and we waited on the housing life for a year and then we finally got the house and it’s a four bedroom but we waited a year, we weren’t first on the list.” [focus group 14-17]

“My sister has four kids and she stays in a two bedroom hoose because she cannae get anywhere bigger in this community.” [focus group 14-17]

Some stigma around social housing was discussed, based around ideas about who accessed social housing.

“I don’t know, I think if it’s a council flat and it kinda makes sense there would be a few weird people living there.” [Focus group 18-21]

 “As much as social housing helps, there’s a lot that they’re supposed to do but they don’t do. Like sometimes they’re supposed to send a plumber out and it can take 3-4 weeks. There’s been quite a few times my boiler has broken and someone has come out to fix it and not fixed it right so someone else has had to come out. I think there was one time we had no heating for three days waiting for it to be fixed. They obviously want more people in their houses, but they need to take care of them properly.” [focus group 14-17]

Young people highlighted the importance of personalised support and staff who were attuned to their needs. In the case of one person, a bereavement in the family resulted in the property being deemed “underoccupied” and this adding to the stress of bereavement and loss.

“At that point being with them constantly, like nitpicking at you just so they could get a house back when the rent was getting paid either way, just so they could get a family in.” [focus group 18-21]

Budgeting support was seen as especially critical, as this could lead to a loss of property and homelessness. Young people assumed they would be “evicted” if they got into arrears with their rent and that they didn’t know where they could get information and support about that.

“No one tells us. We need to know how to manage money and rent and stuff.” [focus group 14-17]

The process of applying for housing was discussed as being daunting and sometimes, confusing regarding who was eligible.

“Does it not depend on how much you need it or not? Someone disabled would get a house before someone who is able-bodied.” [Focus group 14-17]

The paperwork was highlighted as being challenging.

 “There was one time I went down the housing to put my name down for a council house and there were loads and loads and loads of forms that I had to fill in and it was a wee bit off-putting when I went back in because it was as if they were trying to kinda make it hard for you. It was very off-putting, they weren’t approachable, and I could hear them shouting in the back which wasn’t very professional.” [focus group 18-21]

Budgeting was seen as crucial for maintaining a tenancy and considered a critical life skill.

“When I got my house I didn’t think about bills at all. I was like ‘whit?!’ Like council tax… Listen I pay council tax, I’m an adult, just things like that you don’t realise how much that does go out. Aye it’s a bit overwhelming.” [focus group 18-21]

Young people aged 18-21 discussed the need to be able to access appropriate benefit support, including Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP).

 “And you get two hundred and sixty quid towards it ‘cos if you’re under 25 that’s all they say they’ll give you, so that’s £110 out of my pocket. Aye so who’s there to make sure stuff like that doesn’t happen, who’s that up to?” [focus group 18-21]

“DHP – that’s not widely advertised whatsoever, I mean why no, do they no want people to know about it?” [focus group 18-21]

Choice within housing was very much shaped by affordability and employment opportunities.

 “Money makes the world go round.” [focus group 18-21]

“Obviously housing is affected by employment.” [focus group 18-21]

“A barrier would be money; if you don’t work you don’t get money so there’s a barrier if you don’t have a job.” [focus group 18-21]