• Teenage parents housing and related support needs in Luton

      McMurray, Isabella (University of Bedfordshire, 2008-05)
      This thesis supports burgeoning research in the area of hearing the voice of teenage parents housing and related support needs. In 1999 the UK government set out a target that by the year 2003 all under 18 lone parents to be placed in housing with support. Local housing authorities were instructed to audit the housing provision and needs for young people in their area and to include a strategy for the housing of teenage parents in their housing plans. Locally, Luton's statistics on teenage pregnancy have been higher than the national average for five out of the last seven years. This thesis details the findings of such an audit in the Luton area. Focus groups and individual interviews were undertaken with twenty four teenage mothers or mothers to be, and five fathers, along with thirteen professionals who worked directly or indirectly with teenage parents to discuss young parents' housing and support needs. Using thematic analysis a predominant theme found was the lack of housing choice for teenage parents in Luton. In general participants preferred an independent model of accommodation in a safe environment with floating support. Results highlighted that many participants, irrespective of contact with the Luton mother and baby hostel, had negative perceptions of this type of accommodation. Narratives were also predicated on issues relating to safety, the permanency of accommodation, housing allocations and support networks. Support was viewed in a positive light. However, it was clear Education was not the priority for teenage parents at this stage of their lives, which is in contrast to UK government's current rhetoric on the importance of education for this group of people. The distinctive focus of this dissertation is to expand both the local and national understanding of teenage parents housing needs.