In mid-2011, the Newcastle Inclusion Lab formed, in response to a Cabinet Office call for the formation of ten local inclusion labs across the UK, with the purpose of exploring innovative solutions to problems of multiple disadvantages in their areas. In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, issues around Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – specifically, large hostel-type accommodation operating in the Housing Benefit sub-sector of the private rented market – were identified as key knowledge gaps. An HMO is a building which is occupied by at least three tenants who form more than one household, with residents sharing toilet, bathroom and kitchen facilities. Nationally, too, there is limited understanding of the number of people living in this type of accommodation, the demographics and service needs of residents, the lived experiences of residents and the inequalities associated with living in these properties. Evidence suggests that HMOs are loci of disadvantage, but the extent to which they reinforce, in addition to being products of, disadvantage and the reasons for this are unknown (for further discussion, see Rugg et al, 202; Rugg and Rhodes, 2008; Northern Ireland Housing Executive, 2009; Spencer and Corkhill, 2013; Crisis, 2014; Rose and Davies, 2014; Turley and Davies, 2014). Following a successful application to the Cabinet Office and a grant award from the Northern Rock Foundation, the project team have sought to develop an evidence base about a range of issues relating to privately-run HMOs in the area.
|Published - Feb 2015