Main findings: The incidence of recorded homelessness in BME communities is significantly higher than across the population as a whole. Additionally, the existence of hidden homelessness on an appreciable scale is suggested by evidence of over-representation in overcrowded and Below Tolerable Standard housing. Common housing problems include difficulties in obtaining information about housing options and rights due to language differences, literacy issues, lack of familiarity with the system and institutional discrimination. Unaffordability of mortgages and accommodation in the private rented sector also constrain choice. Considerable diversity exists in the circumstances of BME people affected by homelessness. Refugees, Gypsies/Travellers and BME women escaping domestic abuse are particularly vulnerable to homelessness and have specific needs. Apart from the provision of accommodation, informal sources of support from family and friends tend to be limited. BME people affected by homelessness tend to rely on a limited number of organisations or individuals who provide services targeted to these groups. There are large geographical areas across Scotland in which little or no specialist provision is available to BME communities. Measures identified to reduce homelessness in BME communities include: increased access to high quality housing advice and information; greater publicity about possible sources of support and increased recognition of hidden homelessness and the particular accommodation needs of BME communities in the allocations process. Mainstream agencies (local authorities and voluntary agencies) need to work much harder than BME agencies to increase the relevance of their services to BME communities. Good practice suggests a pro-active approach towards communicating with BME communities, the adoption of a holistic approach, culturally sensitive service delivery and effective joint working with BME agencies to increase the expertise and experience available to these communities.
|Number of pages||134|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2004|