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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Families in public housing Ireland, Florence Louise

Abstract

This is the second instalment of a series of studies of the welfare and community aspects of public housing. The first study, entitled Public Housing and Welfare Services, by James S. Brown, David Kogawa, and Raymond Peters (undertaken as theses, now published), extensively reviewed the most relevant recent literature relating to the welfare services required by public housing tenants, as well as issues of community relationships. The present study, on the other hand, focusses on characteristics of families living in the developments, and all that the move to public housing involves for them personally. With this objective, data was obtained from the United States and Britain, and the experience of these countries in the field of public housing was examined. A comparison was made between statistics and related information brought together from both the United States and Britain, and those of the local Vancouver projects, relating to (a) the types of families, the number of children and elderly persons, the age structure of the communities, (b) family incomes and rents, and (c) components of "balance" in the developments. In sum, it has been found that, in general, in all three countries similar family profiles exist, with some exceptions, notably concerning the number of old people. Both in the United States and in the Vancouver projects the proportion of elderly tenants is frequently higher than in British public housing developments. Furthermore, in Britain, where public housing has formed a large part of the housing stock for many years, the standard family of father, mother and children comprise a much greater proportion of the tenant population than is found in the two other countries. On the other hand, there are similarities in the high proportions of children, and of young married couples. The incomes of the majority of tenants are low, and many are supplemented by government assistance benefits. Some common problems emerge relating to difficulties in adapting to the "new" life, and many of these could be alleviated by more awareness of the human aspect of housing, relocation, and services provision on the part of planners, housing authorities, welfare agencies and the general public.

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