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Housing Problems due to Poverty

by Suleman
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In most regions of the world, poverty has been an enduring and widespread problem, with most people living in households experiencing poverty. According to Bramley (2012), housing relates intimately to the poverty experiences and risks. The cost of housing makes a lot of families to fall into poverty, while bigger housing issues have an effect of shaping the daily experiences based on stability and quality of housing (Bramley, 2012). Moreover, housing location determines the number of important aspects that affect daily activities of the people such as the ability to access jobs and transport (Bramley, 2012).

Additionally, high costs of housing impacts companies through wage pressures as well as the government and the public through expenses on housing benefit (Bramley, 2012). Another issue related to housing is that poor-quality housing leads to an increased demand for public services such as education, social and health care, which then leads to homelessness presenting stern challenges to expanded local authorities (Bramley, 2012). Hence, it is clear that housing relates intimately to poverty as noteworthy levels of poverty relate directly to housing costs.

The causes of poverty vary from individual circumstances of a poor persons and structural causes which include economic crisis related factors hence leading to the two major causes of poverty; the Individualism and Structural theory (Sameti et al., 2015). The individualism theory focuses on the individual characteristics as responsible cause of one’s poverty situation.  However, political theoreticians believe that an individual can avoid poverty through hard work and making better choices.  The common individual causes of includes educational levels, skills, and experience, individual health problems, poverty culture, the orientation of work as well time horizon (Sameti et al., 2012).

On the other hand, according to Sameti et al. (2015), the structural theory states that people find themselves in poverty due to factors that are not in their control including economic crisis which lead to problems such as increased social and health care services, high housing costs, and poor accessibility of social amenities. However, since people lives are dynamic the causing situation might change and eventually change the poverty status (Sameti et al., 2015). It is clear then that intervention on the causing factors of the structural poverty can help in lowering poverty levels. High-cost housing as a major cause of poverty falls in this category as housing problems vary among individual and implementation of policies can alter the poverty causing factors related to housing.

Over the years attempts to alienate poverty has failed to control poverty levels to remain fairly constant in most places across the world. The prevalence of poverty amongst various groups of people has also changed over the years, hence calling for a comprehensive strategy to help in reducing poverty among all people (Foster et al., 2013). The most applied strategies to alleviate poverty has been raising income levels for low paid persons and implementing policies aiming at reducing negative impacts of having low income in schooling, healthcare, transport, safety and housing (Gradín et al., 2012).  Thus, various countries in support of the two strategies have been trying to implement policies that are necessary for attempting to reduce people with low incomes as well as to knock-on effects of income poverty; but so far they are far from sufficient as poverty problem is still an alarming issue to many countries (Ludwig et al., 2013).

According to Bramley (2012), presently, there are changes to strategies for alleviating poverty with concentration aiming at remedial actions such as improving education levels. The remedial actions include implementation of effective class strategies to help in reducing the gaps in the educational achievements of students living in poverty.  There are also interventions at the education systems at college and universities aiming at producing labor that is of high skills so as to acquire high incomes jobs at the market (Foster et al., 2013).

According to Slater (2013), poverty affects individual life chances negatively. A person who is poor undergoes through some type of struggles to make the ends meet, including housing problems, huge debts, engaging in criminal activities, suffering mental health and feeling miserable.  Thus, the chances of life of an individual get affected causing one to miss positive outcomes such as good education, happiness, prolonged lives, and good health.

According to previous research conducted in England UK, most families with children face difficulties in making ends meets as they cannot keep up with the bills (Slater, 2013).  A lot of people who occupy rental houses are poor as they tend to experience financial constraints, which prevent them own homes.  Also, that the most uneducated persons are poor as they lack money to support educational needs. Hence, it is clear that poverty affects individual’s life chances negatively as it denies one to access positive life outcomes.

The UK government after neglecting the housing problems within UK market for a number of years, is in the currently changing the trend by giving policy attention to the issue (Wilcox & Perry, 2014). The housing investment is now happening in both private and social sectors and consequently affecting market prices and viability of the neighborhood Wilcox & Perry, 2014). In the past, families on low incomes have been dominating the social housing, but the introductions of new reforms are changing the tenure system (Wilcox & Perry, 2014). A lot of people feel that the changes instead of reducing the housing issues it would heighten them by rendering a lot of low-income households homeless.

Somerville (2013) argues that homelessness relates directly to the poverty, as it includes an extreme social exclusion that is as a result of poverty. Thus, homelessness concept falls under both individual and structural causes of poverty. Homelessness under the concept of poverty implies lack of a physical home where one stays either alone, with family members or friends (Hilber & Vermeulen, 2016). The households of low income are the ones greatly affected by the issue of homelessness as they cannot afford to purchase or rent a house.

According to Fitzpatrick et al. (2013), the issue of homelessness greatly affects an individual’s life chances negatively as it amounts to hindering positive life results.  According to a report by Charity Shelter, in the UK, the issue of homelessness has been increasing with more than 300, 000 persons in Britain being homeless, or stays in inadequate homes (Hilber & Vermeulen, 2016). The report also shows that around 305,000 people sleep in rough places or accommodated in impermanent homes, and the figures have been rising over the last few years (Hilber & Vermeulen, 2016). As a result, the UK government enacted the Homelessness Reduction Act (Wilcox & Perry, 2014), which requires the local authorities to put in place strategies to prevent families at risk of homelessness to fall into a crisis.

The current policy has got some strengths and weakness on homelessness. Ministerial Working Group owns the Plan for the No Second Night Out policy which assist in preventing and supporting the homelessness without stable homes. Through this policy, all department have gathered together through this ministerial working group. The policy has made the government to be committed to addressing not only the causes but the social disadvantages such as social justice, poverty, and equality. Through this policy, the government has provided extra £20 million to be used for the new homelessness transition fund. With the voluntary partners helping, the funds will also tackle those sleeping on the streets.

The policy also assists in identifying the health needs of the homeless and highlights any special services they may need such as mental health problems and dual diagnosis of co-existing substance misuse delivered by government working with National Inclusion Health Board and NHS (Mitton, 2008). The policy fails to put more interest in other demographics such as the pregnant woman or the domestic abuse but addressing strongly on the youth-specific issues. The policy also fails to have effective measuring performance index thereby make under-deliver its services.

Poverty is indeed a continuing problem that unless there are changes in strategies approach it is going to continue affecting many people. One of the strategies should include controlling high housing cost, which leads to a number of negative social impacts that heightens poverty levels. Additionally, there is need to divert strategies towards remedial actions as ways to control poverty levels. Poverty increases the rate of homelessness, and hence before enacting policies on dealing with homelessness problem it is necessary to first curb poverty causing factors.

References

  • Bramley, G. (2012). Affordability, poverty and housing need: triangulating measures and standards. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment27(2), 133-151.
  • Fitzpatrick, S., Pawson, H., Bramley, G., Wilcox, S., & Watts, B. (2013). The homelessness monitor: England 2013. Institute for Housing, Urban and Real Estate Research, Heriot-Watt University.
  • Foster, J., Seth, S., Lokshin, M., & Sajaia, Z. (2013). A Unified Approach to Measuring Poverty and Inequality–Theory and Practice: Streamlined Analysis with ADePT Software. Washington, DC: World Bank.
  • Gorski, P. C. (2012). Perceiving the problem of poverty and schooling: Deconstructing the class stereotypes that mis-shape education practice and policy. Equity & Excellence in Education45(2), 302-319.
  • Gradín, C., Del Río, C., & Cantó, O. (2012). Measuring poverty accounting for time. Review of Income and Wealth58(2), 330-354.
  • Hilber, C. A., & Vermeulen, W. (2016). The impact of supply constraints on house prices in England. The Economic Journal126(591), 358-405.
  • Ludwig, J., Duncan, G. J., Gennetian, L. A., Katz, L. F., Kessler, R. C., Kling, J. R., & Sanbonmatsu, L. (2013). Long-term neighborhood effects on low-income families: Evidence from Moving to Opportunity. American Economic Review103(3), 226-31.
  • Sameti, M., Esfahani, R. D., & Haghighi, H. K. (2012). Theories of poverty: a comparative analysis. Kuwait Chapter of Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review1(6), 55-56.
  • Slater, T. (2013). Your life chances affect where you live: A critique of the ‘cottage industry’of neighbourhood effects research. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research37(2), 367-387.
  • Somerville, P. (2013). Understanding homelessness. Housing, theory and society30(4), 384-415.
  • Wilcox, S., & Perry, J. (2014). UK housing review. Coventry: Chartered Institute of Housing.
  • Mitton, L. (2008). Financial inclusion in the UK: Review of policy and practice. York: Joseph

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