Temporary Accommodation (UTA) is private, short-stay accommodation in which
there is no permanent residency status and limited access to local authority
support to access settled accommodation. It typically refers to places such as
private hostels, B&Bs, Houses of Multiple Occupation and guesthouses.
Being in UTA can have a serious impact on people’s health and wellbeing, with issues such as a lack of locks on their doors, and other residents with problematic addictions contributing to deteriorating mental health. Nowhere Fast, a report published by JustLife and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North in 2016, recommended Temporary Accommodation Boards as a way to support residents in Unsupported Temporary Accommodation, giving tenants a voice and a role in making stays in temporary accommodation safer, healthier and, where possible, shorter.
Temporary Accommodation Boards (TABs) bring together residents, landlords, local housing authorities, public services and the homeless sector on an equal footing in order to maintain and monitor information about local bed spaces. They aim to make these separate groups communicate better, and to inform referrals and signposting towards appropriate accommodation. Boards facilitate a common understanding of the problems in local areas, the collective development of solutions, and a culture of trust between typically disparate stakeholders.
Temporary Accommodation Boards are showing significant promise where JustLife has been trialling them in Brighton and Manchester. But there was a question about whether the unique pressures on London housing would mean they could be feasible in the capital. The report used a case study in the London Borough of Hackney to test this out.
JustLife engaged 22 stakeholders across 15 organisations to understand the main problems driving the insecurity of those in Unsupported Temporary Accommodation in Hackney. They agreed that a lack of communication between different organisations was a key challenge in Hackney, meaning that Temporary Accommodation Boards could make a difference. They also identified a number of practical problems (e.g. widespread use of key deposits, which are in principle not permitted) that Boards could work on together.
The three main recommendations from the report were:
- Rename Temporary Accommodation Boards, Temporary Accommodation Action Groups (TAAGs) – to highlight that these are vehicles for active change, not formal Governance Boards for Temporary Accommodation in that area.
- TAAGs should develop a common understanding of the problem being addressed from the outset: creating clarity about how to tackle the problem, and ensuring that there is no duplication with other working groups.
- TAAGs should aim to improve cross-sector communication, especially with residents, who are often confused and frustrated about their situation.
You can read the full report by clicking the link below.