Our third research network meeting took place in November.
The first presentation was from Professor Christine Whitehead, Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics at London School of Economics on the impact on the suspension of evictions on both tenants and landlords. The latest estimates she discussed suggest that around 6% of tenants were in arrears in August/ September and perhaps a further 7% had made some form of arrangement with their landlord.
Based on her estimates considering the relationship between eviction orders and homelessness acceptances, she expected an increase in the number of people offered temporary accommodation in around 45,000. Two elements are likely to temper these numbers: the very long notice period currently being given and the fact that most younger single people who come forward for assistance will only be eligible for advice rather than accommodation.
Christine discussed the long-term prospects for private renting and posed the question ‘will the sector grow further?’ along with her reflections on the sector and the proportion of people without any security of tenure, meaning the sector is effectively being run without any security.
The second presentation was from Professor Hal Pawson, of the University of New South Wales, who spoke about the Australian Homelessness Monitor, an adaptation of the UK homelessness monitor.
The monitor focuses on the changing scale and nature of policy and economic factors and acknowledges that state and territory governments are showing a greater concern and more activity in regards to homelessness prevention. However, Hal pointed out that currently all efforts are focused on emergency assistance, due to COVID-19.
The second part of the meeting was a discussion, facilitated by Francesca Albanese of Crisis on the topic of challenges conducting qualitative research and data collection with people experiencing homeless during the COVID-19 restrictions.
One comment suggested that as a result of COVID-19, data collection has become much harder, largely coming down to the relationships with researchers that had been built not being able to be leveraged.
Another point was around the use of social media in accessing individuals who would like to be involved in research. Social media has been especially beneficial in recruiting people more widely, and accessing individuals who otherwise would not have been involved during the pandemic.
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