A photoelicitation exploration on formally homeless people experience with Universal Credit: System error and 'the government don't care'

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Abstract

This article explores the impact of Universal Credit (UC) on a group of formerly homeless people who were forcibly made to experience a system of full of errors and government that, in their view, did not care. The experience of a marginalised and vulnerable group with complex needs allows one to consider the impacts of welfare reforms on vulnerable people. The research was conducted with formerly homeless contacted via organisations that support people who experienced homelessness in Brighton, Southeast of the UK. Five people (32 years and older) participated. Qualitative data were obtained in photo-elicitation interviews and were thematically analysed. Findings were that they faced a system of error as well as experiencing a sense the government did not care about their situation. The participants expressed their views on how the UC process made them ‘struggle’ and caused them to have to ‘use food banks’, and argued that the staff did not know the policy. The system is singled out as the cause of UC claimants' destitution. For the participants, policymakers' negligence, contempt, and detachment were not hard to understand. The article provides implications for practice and research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2022

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