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Housing for Young People in Ferguslie Park - Research Findings

DescriptionThis study examined housing for young people in Ferguslie Park in order to help inform the final phase of the Ferguslie Park Partnership's Land Use Strategy.
ISBN0 7480 5490 1
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateDecember 29, 1998
Development Department Research Programme Research Findings No. 22 (1996)
Housing for Young People in Ferguslie Park

The MVA Consultancy

ISBN 0-7480-5490-1Publisher The Scottish OfficePrice £5.00
The Scottish Office Development Department commissioned a study to examine housing for young people in Ferguslie Park. The research was to help inform the final phase of the Ferguslie Park Partnership's Land Use Strategy and provide information of use to other Partnerships and Urban Regeneration Initiatives.
Main findings
  • Most respondents liked their houses (77%), stating size and good state of repair as the main reasons. A similar proportion liked their local neighbourhoods (78%) which were commonly referred to as quiet areas. Those most satisfied were housing association tenants who had benefited directly from environmental improvements and the provision of new housing in the area.
  • Fewer respondents liked the estate (62%). Most who disliked the estate said they had concerns about problems such as muggings, shootings, drugs, etc in Ferguslie Park. However, few had witnessed any incidents and most felt the media were over-exaggerating problems in the area.
  • Forty per cent of respondents wanted to move house. Most of these wished to move within Ferguslie Park, largely because they wanted to remain in an area with which they were "familiar".
  • A number of male non-householders aged under 21 were experiencing relationship difficulties with their parents. They wanted their own tenancies but did not appreciate the costs involved in establishing and maintaining a tenancy. They had also considered making themselves intentionally homeless, but had decided against this because they were under the impression they would be moved out of Ferguslie Park as part of the homelessness process when they would prefer to stay in the area.
  • Thirty three per cent of tenants said they had experienced difficulties maintaining their tenancies. They felt financial and practical support should be available for tenants, particularly in the early stages of the tenancy.
The approach
The primary focus of the research was to explore the perceptions, experiences and aspirations of young people aged 16-24 who live in Ferguslie Park and examine these in the context of housing policy strategy and service delivery in the area. This was achieved via a household survey, group discussions and indepth interviews with young people, a literature review and interviews with housing managers and others.
Attitudes towards current housing and the estate
Fifty five per cent of the young people interviewed during the household survey were householders with their own tenancies or they were home owners. The remaining 45% were non-householders living with parents, guardians or friends.
Both householders and non-householders generally liked the house and neighbourhood they lived in although fewer liked the estate as a whole. Those who disliked the neighbourhood mostly felt this was due to badly behaved neighbours.
One of the main reasons for disliking the estate was a perception that the neighbourhood in which respondents lived was better than other parts of the estate. For example, some respondents felt their neighbourhood was a quiet area but that other parts of the estate had problems such as crime, drugs, etc.
Females with children were particularly concerned about problems on the estate. They had heard of problems such as muggings, shootings, etc and this prevented them from walking around the estate due to fear associated with this. However, few had witnessed or experienced these problems as these perceptions had been formulated through what they had heard from the media.
Most respondents felt problems in Ferguslie Park had been exaggerated by the media and home owners in particular were concerned that this was depressing the housing market.
Generally, respondents were aware of and pleased with the programme of environmental improvements taking place in the area.
Young people's housing needs and aspirations
Forty per cent of respondents wanted to move house.
The householders who wanted to move gave the following main reasons for this:
  • poor condition of their house (36%)
  • overcrowding/lack of space (23%);
  • problems with the area and/or neighbours (32%).
Non-householders gave different reasons for their desire to move. The most common reason given was a desire to achieve independence from parents (66%). Also, a small number of males aged under 21 said they wanted to move because they were experiencing relationship difficulties with their parents. Often these young people had an urgent need to move because their home relationships had deteriorated significantly.
Both householders and non-householders said they would wish to move within rather than out of Ferguslie Park. They felt that due to their low incomes and, in the majority of cases poor employment prospects, there were few housing options available to them. Despite this, they wished to remain in Ferguslie Park rather than move to an unfamiliar area elsewhere.
Obtaining a tenancy in Ferguslie Park
Nearly all of the non-householders interviewed were single with no dependents. As the council and housing association allocate houses on the basis of need such as overcrowding and homelessness, the single householders felt it would be a long time before they would be housed.
Some of these single non-householders felt that becoming intentionally homeless was the only way to get a house. They felt it would be easy to become homeless in this way but did not wish to do this because they felt they would not then be offered housing in Ferguslie Park. Although moving out of Ferguslie Park was not a preferred option, some of those experiencing relationship difficulties with parents said that they may have to consider leaving Ferguslie Park to get a house because problems at home had reached a crisis level.
One suggestion for dealing with the problem of young people experiencing relationship difficulties with parents was to develop a 'crash pad' facility where young people could stay for a while instead of registering homeless. The purpose of this would be to give young people a 'cooling off' period from parents, address the reasons for the relationship problems where possible, and also teach the young people independent living skills to prepare them for a tenancy. However, this approach would be counter-productive if tenancies were not available for these young people to move into.
Maintaining a tenancy in Ferguslie Park
Thirty three per cent of tenants and ex-tenants said they had experienced difficulties maintaining their tenancies and most of these difficulties had occurred because they had been unable to pay for items such as furniture or kitchen equipment when they moved into their properties. A number of tenants had got into debt at this stage and were still struggling to meet repayments while on benefits. Those with children were struggling most of all, with many living in one room in the winter to save on fuel bills.
Both respondents and housing managers felt that tenants should receive some sort of support when they move in. One suggestion was to employ a tenant support worker who would provide advice for tenants on practical living skills, sources of cheap furniture etc.
Another suggestion was to provide furnished accommodation for young people and the respondents were in support of this. However, this has been tried in other areas and it has been expensive because furniture is frequently stolen.
A compromise suggestion was that young people should be provided with basic and essential items such as a cooker and a fridge when they first take up a tenancy. Exercising this option would only be possible if funds were available locally, as central grants for such items no longer exist.
About the research
The primary focus of the research was a survey of 303 households. It was a quota-based survey of young people aged 16-27 based on residential status ie: householders/non-householders, tenure, age and sex.
During the survey, respondents were asked if they would be willing to take part in further research and 68% agreed. A sample of these then attended a series of group discussions and indepth interviews where issues raised during the survey were examined in more detail.
Interviews with housing managers, social workers and others, and a literature review provided a policy context to the research.
"Housing for Young People in Ferguslie Park", the Research Report summarised in this Research Findings, may be purchased (price £5.00 per copy).
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Further copies of this Research Findings can be obtained from:
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