Response - Tackling Social Exclusion

By: Nicola Robinson  Published: April 2004


Shelter's response to the Social Exclusion Unit's 'Tackling social exclusion: taking stock and looking to the future' request for thoughts on its future work.

Summary

Homelessness, bad housing and insecure housing put people at a high risk of social exclusion. Not only can bad housing be an underlying cause of poor health, education and personal development but it can also result in people being excluded from general service provision or more specialist support services.

Overall we support the approach that the SEU has taken, of evidence based policy making and an emphasis on joint working. However more needs to be done, and further resources are needed to ensure this is translated into practice more widely.

Three key issues that must be tackled in the Governments future agenda in addressing poverty are:

  • Addressing the structural factors in the housing market which exacerbate inequality and increase homelessness, in particular the shortage of affordable housing in many parts of the country. The latest Shelter Housing Investment Project Report  outlined that an additional £3.5 billion of government funding is required to meet the shortfall of affordable homes needed each year.
  •  Reducing policies and practice that exclude people from key public services and block people's routes out of social exclusion.
  • Ensuring that the benefits and opportunities for addressing the support needs of vulnerable people presented by the Supporting People are maximised.
With regard to future risks beyond 2004 we believe that the SEU should also focus on the social exclusion of people seeking asylum and refugees and the impact of separating certain groups from mainstream housing provision. Emphasis must be placed on establishing services that promote diversity and integration. 

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