• Friday, June 21, 2024

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‘Local monitoring and interventions’ needed to prevent homelessness among ethnic minorities

Bangladeshi, black African, black Other, and Pakistani groups are more than twice as likely as white British people to experience housing disadvantage.

Representational image (iStock)

By: Pramod Thomas

A new policy paper has called for targeted interventions to end homelessness among ethnic minorities in UK as it found stark inequalities in this segment in the country, a statement said.

According to the policy paper, Bangladeshi, black African, black Other, and Pakistani groups are more than twice as likely as white British people to experience housing disadvantage.

The report, authored by Prof Nissa Finney, professor of Human Geography at the University of St Andrews and published by the Centre for Homelessness Impact, has revealed that how inequalities experienced by different ethnic groups contributed to higher rates of homelessness.

The report said that black people are more than three times as likely to experience homelessness as white people in England and twice as likely in Scotland. Besides, people of mixed race are almost twice as likely to be affected by homelessness in England.

It pointed out that all ethnic groups were more likely to experience housing disadvantage than white British groups in the country.

The report said that robust data and causal evidence on ethnicity and homelessness are currently unavailable.

One of the recommendations in the report is to remove barriers to generate informal social support for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness within communities.

It wanted local authorities and accommodation providers to focus on systemic inequalities in housing provision and urged the government to bring race equality approaches to homelessness programmes.

The other suggestions include, provision of services in multiple languages other than English, development of a Racial Equality Toolkit for homelessness practitioners, regular training in anti-racist practice, and the availability of alternative approaches to recovery.

Dr Ligia Teixeira, CEO of the Centre for Homelessness Impact, said: “It is deeply troubling that there is such significant over-representation of people from ethnic minorities among individuals experiencing homelessness. This has implications for policy, yet this dimension of homelessness has received little attention from policy-makers.

“The evidence also points to differences between ethnic groups of the homeless population in terms of vulnerabilities and poorer experiences with services. This suggests that efforts to end homelessness in the UK must address the range of issues that result from racial inequity.

“To maximise effectiveness, it is imperative that policies and programmes explicitly consider race as a factor, and be subject to robust evaluation. Only by targeting our efforts even better, and investing in reliable evidence, can we accelerate progress towards a future without homelessness in the UK.”

Prof Finney said: “Ethnic inequalities in homelessness are stark and it’s clear from this report that there is regional variation that will require local monitoring and interventions. We can learn from elsewhere that ethnic and locally specific services can be effective in supporting ethnic minority people experiencing homelessness, and reducing inequalities.

“However, there’s also a need to think about ethnic inequalities in homelessness in connection with well-evidenced inequalities in other areas of life, such as employment, education and health. Understanding the role of racism is key to any actions to combat the shocking over-representation of ethnic minorities amongst those experiencing homelessness in Britain.”

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