Briefing: Shifting Channels

By: Elizabeth O'Hara  Published: April 2012


Research shows that 1.1 million people a year aged over 16 in England and Wales experience some form of civil legal housing problem. Some people are more likely to experience a housing problem than others. The number of people with housing problems is likely to increase in the medium term. This briefing explores one of the key issues facing the advice sector.

Summary

Digital services can and already do play a role in offering a range of services to people with housing problems, although these tend to be in the form of information rather than personalised advice. However, the most vulnerable housing advice clients are likely to be among the most digitally excluded.

An analysis of Shelter’s own web services reveals that we have more visits from those less likely to be vulnerable. This suggests that rather than shifting clients from one channel to another, we may be simply reaching into a new audience. As such, this may even be increasing the demand for face to face services, rather than reducing it. Shelter believes that a multi-channel approach will be needed beyond the short term.

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