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Policy and service responses to rough sleeping among older people

Crane, M. and Warnes, A.M. (2000) Policy and service responses to rough sleeping among older people. Journal of Social Policy, 29 (1). pp. 21-36. ISSN 0047-2794


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Rough sleeping in Britain has a long history, and interventions have alternated between legal sanctions and humanitarian concern. This paper critically examines recent changes in homeless policies and services, with particular reference to the needs of older people who sleep rough. The characteristics and problems of the group are first described. Single homeless people were formerly accommodated in direct-access hostels but, from the 1970s, individualised rehabilitation and resettlement have spread. Most recently, services dedicated to older people have begun (although remain few and are unevenly provided). Their achievements are reviewed and drawn upon in formulating normative proposals of the appropriate service mix. The 1990s ‘Rough Sleepers Initiative’ and related programmes promoted a ‘social care market’ of not-for-profit organisations that compete for increased (but short-term) funds to provide services, and the new Labour government will build upon these changes and increase funds. Low tolerance towards the ‘social exclusion’ of homelessness is promised but unerringly constructed as exclusion from work; while rough sleeping is dubbed as anti-social, coercive approaches to achieve a two-thirds reduction are foreseen. The proposed target might stall the development of diverse and effective services, or reduce providers' capacity to combat the perversities of resource allocation. The overall prospects for the improvement and expansion of services to provide significant help to single older homeless people are uncertain.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2000 Cambridge University Press.Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Medicine (Sheffield) > Clinical Sciences Division North (Sheffield) > Sheffield Institute for Studies on Ageing
The University of Sheffield > University of Sheffield Research Centres and Institutes > Sheffield Institute for Studies on Ageing
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 13 May 2008 11:41
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2014 00:13
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0047279400005808
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0047279400005808
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3785

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