Better Times Than This: Youth Homelessness in Britain by Tom Hall

By Tom Hall

If the supposedly disaffected younger give you the sub-text to such a lot of of our social anxieties, then the younger homeless loom higher the following than such a lot: our so much brilliant reminder of social exclusion, and exemplars too of what the tabloid press wish to describe because the feckless, wilful negative. This publication explores what existence is admittedly like for Britain’s younger homeless: estranged from their households, out of labor and making do at the fringes of social defense. the result's a brilliant portrait of a urgent social challenge. in keeping with prolonged fieldwork research – the writer spent 12 months within the corporation of youth relocating among hostel lodging, rented bed-sit tenancies and episodes of rooflessness – greater instances Than this is often Britain’s first complete ethnographic learn of juvenile homelessness.

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Sample text

The staff team’s authority at the hostel is absolute inasmuch as they can withdraw the offer of accommodation from any resident, without appeal. Staff members moot and threaten this course of action much more often than they actually resort to it; but residents who have been warned repeatedly and who consistently disregard the house rules and disrupt life at the hostel for others living there are sometimes given short notice to quit the premises – a week at most or a couple of days in which to make whatever arrangements they can.

Shelley: Just doss around all day – that’s what I’ve been doing, until recently. I think that everyone that’s here’s done that. They’ve stayed here and then, when they find that, you know, when it’s near to the end to when they have to move out, they start looking [for accommodation] then. That’s what I’ve done anyway. When I first moved in I wanted to stay, I couldn’t be bothered to look for anywhere [else]. I was just making it my life, and that was it. Those, like Shelley, who make the hostel their life for a couple of months, settle to a rhythm.

Although admission to the hostel routinely operates on a first come, first served basis, there are exceptions. Not every young person who comes to Lime Street looking for a room is offered one. 7 Staff members are similarly wary of accommodating young people with mental health difficulties and those who present very ‘challenging’ behaviour. But there is no hard-and-fast rule here, and with only a cursory assessment of eligibility prior to residency – ten minutes’ conversation over a cup of tea in the staff office – they usually err on the side of beneficence.

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