Effective homelessness prevention? Explaining reductions in homelessness in Germany and England

Volker Busch-Geertsema, Suzanne Fitzpatrick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    England and Germany are unusual amongst developed economies
    in reporting declining levels of homelessness. This paper argues that, notwithstandingweaknesses in the available data, there are good grounds for thinking that in recent years there has been a reduction in homelessness in both
    countries. While a range of factors has contributed to these downward trends
    (a slackening housing market in Germany; tightened local authority assessment
    procedures in England), there is evidence to support claims that targeted
    preventative interventions have had a substantial beneficial effect.
    Encouragingly, and perhaps surprisingly, it seems that positive outcomes can
    be achieved even in the face of unhelpful structural trends (rising poverty and
    unemployment in Germany ; worsening housing affordability in England). The
    experiences of Germany and England suggest that successful prevention
    policies must be carefully targeted at the key ‘triggers’ for homelessness, and
    need to be underpinned by appropriate resources and an effective governance
    framework for their implementation. The paper also highlights the profound
    impact that inter-country conceptual and institutional differences have on the
    understanding of homelessness and its prevention, cautioning against the
    dangers of international comparisons which pay insufficient attention to
    national contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-95
    Number of pages27
    JournalEuropean Journal of Homelessness
    Volume2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Keywords

    • causes of homelessness
    • eviction
    • homelessness prevention
    • homelessness statistics
    • relationship breakdown
    • rent arrears

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