Permanent housing for homeless people – research programme and follow-up investigation
Analysis and documentation of innovative approaches of housing supply for homeless households and people with selected model projects.
Eight model projects on the supply of homeless people with own, regularly rented flats were conducted between 1993 and 1997 within the ExWoSt research programme and several representative models for a socially oriented housing administration and residential support were realised. The model projects addressed different groups and involved new as well as existing buildings. Between 2000 and 2001, seven model projects and four reference projects underwent a follow-up investigation in order to evaluate the use period itself. The projects have generally been successful. Most of the tenancies could be maintained. Two thirds of the residents could also have been accommodated in regular housing even if a part of the formerly homeless people required additional social and residential support for a longer time.
The research programme investigates the preconditions for implementing innovative concepts of housing supply for homeless people or people and households threatened by homelessness. It used selected model projects,in which the conditions providing individuals and households in different problematic housing situations with regular tenancies were identified and which might stabilise them in their new situation of housing and life.
The investigation is based on qualitative and quantitative surveys. A standardised budgetary survey was central to the research: its results formed a basis for estimating the integrative effects of housing projects and the importance of social support. In addition, the relevant actors were interviewed during expert discussions on their experiences with the course of projects and general local conditions. Some tenants were individually interviewed on their housing and living situation as well.
The results of all projects were documented in the form of case studies and have been analysed by a cross-sectional assessment. The evaluation of success and scope of the housing projects provided the basis for conclusions concerning the relevance of innovative action approaches to general practice.
The housing projects analysed in the ExWoSt research programme were successful as most of the residents could be provided with permanent accommodation. However, this could only happen with the support of landlords and social workers in order to prevent tenancy problems and to stabilise the tenants‘ social situation in general.
Although the housing market has eased and homeless people or people and households threatened by homelessness partly also have access to regular accommodation, the share of those who are difficult to be placed among registered persons looking for housing is growing. There is still the need for housing projects oriented towards target groups provided with additional support. Their development and/or management should therefore be provided with adequate public support.
Furthermore, there is still a lack of sufficient access to existing accommodation as in the housing industry large reservations exist towards the clients of housing projects – although under guarantee of social support more than two-thirds of tenants of the housing projects investigated could be rehoused in regular social housing according to their probable 'ability torent'.
The identification of larger occupancy potentials within the existing housing stock for households with lacking access requires even more cooperation between local authorities, housing companies and independent welfare companies.
Institute for Housing and Environment (IWU)
Ms Ilona Mühlich-Klinger
Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung)