Race, homelessness and inner-city policy in 1980s Britain

Phil Child

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This article utilizes an organizational history of the Birmingham-based Handsworth Single Homeless Action Group (HSHAG) to explore black youth homelessness and inner-city policy in 1980s Britain. It draws upon under-used charity archives to intervene in recent debates, considering the part played by the voluntary sector within the Thatcher administrations’ inner-city policies and what targeted funding of this kind reveals about the remaking of the welfare state in these years. First, it introduces HSHAG, setting out the context of inner-city funding programmes, before questioning how sustainable this might have been for voluntary organizations engaged in supporting the homeless population. Secondly, it examines the effects of housing privatization and unemployment on HSHAG's attempts to advise homeless black individuals and assert their rights as citizens to state support. Together, it exposes the role of the voluntary sector in welfare state restructuring and considers how this change made the task of homelessness organizations Herculean.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalUrban History
Early online date9 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2021


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