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Hidden Voices – Is the Housing Crisis Affecting our Community? By Henry Baptist Pathway Housing Solutions

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There are more and more people struggling to access housing, and increasing numbers of people sofa surfing, in precarious housing, living in poor conditions, or at constant risk of becoming homeless. For vulnerable people, young people and children, this can have serious negative effects.

SOME FACTS ABOUT RACE AND HOUSING 

  • In the last five years, there was a 22% increase in statutory homelessness. Among white households it rose 9%, whereas homelessness among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) households rose 48% (Shelter, 2017).
  • 11% of homeless people applying for help are Black, even though Black people make up just 3% of households in England.
  • A person who is from a BME background becomes homeless or is threatened with homelessness every eight minutes.
  • People from BME backgrounds are more likely to live in overcrowded conditions.
  • In Nottingham, two thirds of approaches for housing assistance were from single people and one third from families. Of the single people, 2/3 were males but only ¼ were from a BME background (Nottingham City Council, 2017).
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise evictions after the amnesty expiration, the effects on the BME community are unknown.

THE PROBLEM

The housing system is confronted with several challenges including increasing homelessness, not enough new housing being built by Councils, more people waiting on the housing register for years with little chance of being offered a home, rising rents, tenants struggling to pay their rent, people living in cramped and overcrowded housing, and so on.

At the same time student housing is appearing all over the city, the cost of buying a house is pricing local people out of the market, and as the housing crisis worsens, and the cost-of-living spirals out of control, the disproportionate impact on the BME community remains hidden.

WHAT WE HAVE REALISED

From our work in the community, Pathway Housing Solutions has observed housing inequalities and barriers to housing services in Nottingham’s BME Community. We have come across people ‘temporarily’ staying with family and friends, sofa surfing, living in unsuitable housing such as garages, allotments, or on a friend’s floor! We have also found that many BME people are choosing not to access housing advice and support services.

RESEARCH

Few studies have been conducted that explain why this is the case, and so we have decided to investigate the housing crisis from the perspective of BME people, and to seek solutions to the housing challenges facing the citizens of Nottingham. Working with University of Nottingham, and supported by national and local partners, we are launching a 10-month research project, and a series of topic-specific community events and webinars including Alternative Routes to Accessing Affordable Housing.

RESEARCH LAUNCH EVENT

The launch event (online and in-person) will take place at the University of Nottingham on the morning of Thursday 14th July, where preliminary findings from a scoping study will be presented. The event is open to anyone with an interest in housing, and in finding housing solutions.

Keynote speakers on the day will come from Nottingham City Council, BME National, Shelter, and Nottingham Arimathea Trust.  For booking details contact info@pathwayhousingsolutions.org.uk

Research Survey – Ethnicity Housing Disadvantage & Homelessness: We are inviting people to complete this surveyhttps://forms.office.com/r/VynPfNPG8G and itonly takes a few minutes. The survey’s aim is to investigate the opinions of Nottingham’s BAME population on the issue of housing inequalities within the city. We acknowledge that BAME is a contested term, but the survey is interested in the experiences of people of colour living in Nottingham.

All information will remain anonymous and will be analysed by Pathway Housing Solutions to inform strategy and reports. All participants must be aged 18 or over and be a resident of a Nottingham City Council ward.

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