An analysis of the trends affecting homeless lone parents under the Labour Government

An analysis of the trends affecting homeless lone parents under the Labour Government

Research Question

This research question is an assessment of the impact which the Labour policy relating to homelessness has had, in particular, on lone parents. By looking at the trends associated with homelessness of lone parents, a more detailed policy analysis can be completed with a view to gaining an understanding of how policies could be used in the future to achieve a more effective regime for homeless or potentially homeless lone parents.

Objectives of Research

The key objective of this research is to gain a detailed understanding of how the Labour Government between 1997 and 2010 dealt with the issue of homelessness, with particular reference to lone parents and how the various different policies established by the Labour Government have impacted on this group of society. By exploring the broader issues relating to housing services and encompassing not only the provision of basic housing, but also looking at the policies which would potentially impact on the long-term situation such as employability this research aims to identify those policy areas which would be most relevant in the future as a means of dealing with the long-term issue of homelessness, rather than simply plastering over the current crisis.

Although the focus of this dissertation is on the period during which the Labour Government was in control, the latter part of the dissertation will also consider the ways in which the policy has changed since 2010 and what the future may hold for this policy area, with recommendations being offered based on the information gathered.

Literature Review

The issue of homelessness has gained considerable attention over the years, most notably from those involved in government policy setting; however, several other papers provide useful background understanding.

For example, the paper by Bromley et al., in 2010 looked at the demographic issues which are likely to underlie the demands of the housing system, This paper discussed issues such as the increase of lone parents and considered how this might increase the demand for smaller housing units.

Another paper which is considered to be relevant is that established by Fitzpatrick et al., 2000, where the issue of single adults who suffer from homelessness is focussed on recognising that many of the supplemental policies such as those surrounding supporting lone parents back into work are also crucially significant. This recognises the importance of not simply focussing on providing housing, but also on looking at the issues that create or deepen the homeless crisis in the first place.

Finally, the other area of literature looks at the central issue of how social housing is allocated. This is because although it is recognised that wider issues are likely to be relevant, there is also an important body of research which needs to look more closely at the allocation of social housing and how this impacts on lone parents, specifically (Fitzpatrick & Stephens, 1999).


In order to undertake this research, it is planned that the focus will be on the use of a detailed literature review, drawing on trends and any surrounding discussion relating to these trends. Care will need to be taken to remove bias, as many of the documents which are produced by the government are likely to support the effectiveness of its own policies, regardless of the true figures.

For this reason, the figures will be looked at, in detail, and an analysis of the data will be undertaken in a rounded way. As well as the literature review, case studies will also be drawn upon, to ensure that the practical operation of the policies is understood, something which is perceived to be highly relevant when it comes to undertaking a detailed policy analysis.

Indicative Bibliography

Bradshaw, J., Chzhen, Y. & Stephens, M. (2008) ’Housing: the saving grace in the British welfare state’, in Fitzpatrick, S. & Stephens, M. (eds.) The Future of Social Housing. London: Shelter.

Bramley, G., Pawson, H., White, M., Watkins, D. & Pleace, N. (2010) Estimating Housing Need. London: DCLG.

Brien, S. (2009) Dynamic Benefits: Toward welfare that works. London: Centre for Social Justice

Fitzpatrick, S., Kemp, P. A., & Klinker, S. (2000) Single Homelessness: An Overview of Research in Britain. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Fitzpatrick, S. & Stephens, M. (1999) ‘Homelessness, need and desert in the allocation of council housing’, Housing Studies, 14(4), 413–3

Greater London Authority (2009) Housing in London: the Evidence Base for the London Housing Strategy. London: GLA

Pleace, N. (2000). ‘The new consensus, the old consensus and the provision of services for people sleeping rough’, Housing Studies, 15: 581-594.

Shinn, M. (2007) ‘International homelessness: policy, socio-cultural, and individual perspectives’, Journal of Social Issues, 63(3): 657-677

Stafford, B. & Duffy, D. (2009) Review of Evidence on the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Disadvantaged Groups. London: DWP.

Witherspoon, C., Whyley, C. & Kempson, E. (1996) Paying for Rented Housing: Non-dependent Deductions from Housing Benefit. London: Department of Social Security.