Sunday, 2 July 2017

Public-sector service provision for older people affected by homelessness in England

an article by Sarah Alden (Dept of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, UK) published in Ageing & Society Volume 37 Issue 2 (February 2017)


This paper assesses provision for older people affected by homelessness in England, giving regard to research findings, such as those developed through a pathways model, which show that the experiences of this group are qualitatively distinct when compared to younger households.

Current conceptualisations of older age held by Local Authority Housing Option Service professionals are considered, alongside factors relating to government policy and resource issues. It was found that some practitioners adopted an age-blind approach when assessing older groups, despite this being contrary to policy guidance on assessing vulnerability in England.

Further, services and housing options aimed at older groups were viewed as inadequate due to a mixture of lack of awareness, targeting and resources.

It is concluded that assessment of vulnerability based on older age is complex, as whilst gerontological discourse may discourage viewing age as a number, homelessness scholars stress that rooflessness causes poor health conditions consistent with premature ageing.

It is therefore asserted that policy makers must focus greater attention to developing suitable provision for older service users and look to incorporate a richer conceptualisation of how older age may impact upon the homelessness experience.

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