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 greater the following than such a lot: our such a lot bright reminder of social exclusion, and exemplars too of what the tabloid press wish to describe because the feckless, wilful bad. This ebook 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 protection. the result's a brilliant portrait of a urgent social challenge. in response to prolonged fieldwork research – the writer spent 365 days within the corporation of youth relocating among hostel lodging, rented bed-sit tenancies and episodes of rooflessness – higher instances Than this is often Britain’s first complete ethnographic research of minor homelessness.
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Extra info for Better Times Than This: Youth Homelessness in Britain
He tells her no. She asks if he has a criminal record and Rhys explains that he has previous convictions for petty theft and shoplifting and is due to appear in court on similar charges next week. Ann gives Rhys an application form for housing benefit (to cover the cost of his rent for up to eight weeks’ residency at the hostel), which he fills in with her help. She explains that he will have to pay an additional £2 per day ‘kitchen money’ if he wants to eat at the hostel. Next she reads through the house rules, which detail the daily schedule at the hostel, the residents’ rota for cooking and cleaning, health and safety regulations and prohibitions on theft, violence and the use of drugs and alcohol on the premises.
Every few months the staff find themselves having a conversation like this, agreeing that the time has come to get tough with the residents and make some changes around the place. And sure enough, for a week or so ‘structure and discipline’ will be the new watchwords on Lime Street – the house rules inflexibly policed, key-working sessions brisk and businesslike. But this new regime never really feels right and always unravels. Running a tight ship is one thing, but the staff are not at the hostel just to order the residents around.
32 Better Times Than This simple timetable. Each new day begins at half past eight in the morning with a member of staff knocking on the bedroom doors to wake those still sleeping. All residents have to be up, out of bed and downstairs by 9 o’clock in time for breakfast, after which there are household chores to be done – the dishes to be cleared away and washed, the kitchen floor to be mopped, the front room to be vacuumed, beds to be made and bins and ashtrays to be emptied. On weekdays the hostel shuts up at 11 o’clock in the morning and residents must find somewhere else to go for the rest of the day.
Better Times Than This: Youth Homelessness in Britain by Tom Hall