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Homeless in Bath: issues and opportunities

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-22, 04:01 authored by Taylor, C, Jed DonoghueJed Donoghue

Community work covers a diverse range of activities from Alcohol and Drug rehabilitation, Emergency Relief. to Social Housing and Youth work. Working with people experiencing homelessness is an important part of community work. There is an increased community awareness of those in serious economic and social need, for example more people are experiencing primary homelessness and rough sleeping in Australian and UK cities. There are also more people with untreated mental health issues due to the shortage of appropriate mental health services, which effectively increases social isolation and alienation. It would be fair to say that a lack of affordable social housing does not make for a better city.

The city of Bath is recognised as an affluent city and is designated an official world heritage area. It has two universities that ensures the students population is over 20,000. With Roman baths and its planned Georgian city, it is in the UK top ten tourist destinations outside London attracting 1.2 million visitors in 2016. It is therefore not surprising that the cost of housing with regards to purchase and rentals is high. Recently the Guardian newspaper named it one of the least affordable cities in the UK with house prices over ten times higher than average annual earnings (Guardian 2018). In terms of housing affordability in Bath the information published by Lloyds Bank indicates that the ratio between house prices and average earnings has increased from 5.6 in 2012 to 7.0 in 2017 (Lloyds 2018). The numbers show that with a ratio of 10.1 Bath is now the fifth least affordable city behind Oxford, Cambridge, Greater London and Brighton and Hove. The average ratio for UK cities was found to be 7.0, but there are six cities where average house prices are least ten times average annual earnings. In real terms the cost of rental property in Bath city centre is on average over £800 for one-bedroom apartment to £1500 for three-bedroom apartment (Lloyds 2018).

Like many affluent cities with a high tourist profile Bath has significant numbers of people living on the streets. According to its annual rough sleeper count there were 25 people living on the streets higher than comparable cities of York or Poole (B&NES 2018). This may not include some homeless people living on the fringes of the city who by choice are difficult to contact or locate.

This paper provides an overview of a very important aspect of community work. It does so by defining homelessness and assessing how organisations in Bath respond and provide community services to people who are homeless. It will identify areas where new homeless services or different community responses are required. Finally, it will forward recommendations to assist with the reduction and support for people who are experiencing primary homeless.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Community Work






School of Social Sciences


Australian Community Workers Association

Place of publication


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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other law, politics and community services not elsewhere classified

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