Social work with families who are homeless or who have housing needs
Child and family social workers have a challenging job in supporting families, particularly where there are insufficient resources to meet families’ needs. This is particularly the case in respect of housing and homelessness. Family homelessness is a multi-dimensional social issue with a number of complex causes and consequences, implying a variety of different support needs. Homelessness and discrimination often intersect and the experience of living in poor housing conditions or being homeless can in itself lead to discrimination and exclusion. Already marginalised families are further marginalised and excluded.
As this guidance makes clear, social work has a vital role to play in this area in ﬁve ways. Firstly, in communicating with and learning directly from family members about their housing needs. Secondly by making creative use of statutory powers to intervene. Thirdly in advocating on their behalf with housing providers by acting directly to reduce stresses. Fourthly, in supporting adults and children in meeting their underlying needs which, for many families cause or exacerbate their housing problems. And, ﬁnally in recording families’ unmet housing needs, collating these needs and highlighting them to local and national decision-makers.