Social Housing and Social Problems
- Publication Type:
- International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home, 2012, pp. 395 - 400
- Issue Date:
Since the 1970s and gaining momentum in the 1990s, social housing has been perceived as a housing tenure which is beset by social problems. Although the social problem narrative is perhaps exaggerated, there is no doubt that many social housing estates have become sites of disorder. A shift in policy towards social housing in the context of increasing unemployment and part-time work has resulted in the composition of social housing changing fundamentally and many estates now comprise mainly seriously disadvantaged households. The changing composition has laid the basis for social housing becoming a difficult housing tenure. Some estates are beset by social disorder and vandalism, criminal activity, drug taking and dealing, and even gang war. Other social problems include social exclusion, poor management, stigmatisation, racial and ethnic segregation and clustering, and neglect of residents in need of care. A common solution proposed and increasingly put into practice has been dispersal and social mix. This is premised on the argument that the concentration of disadvantage is negative. The impact of social mixing has been varied; some of the more functional and skilled households have benefitted but a proportion of the more disadvantaged households have lost their footing in social housing and have found themselves dependent on the far more expensive and insecure private rental market.
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