The Doorway Guest Survey 2013 was carried out between July and September of the year, and had a record response rate of 50 surveys completed. We hoped to record data about the service Doorway provides and also a snapshot of the impact of welfare reform at this current time.
There is a great deal of rhetoric surrounding welfare reform in the media. First, the narrative of reform being introduced as an efficiency measure that will continue to support those who ‘deserve’ it. Second, the frenzy around the narrative of strivers and scroungers which has seen an adverse effect upon communities in terms of social conflict. Often these narratives are not supported by stories from individuals who are experiencing the impact of reform, and are used to push a political agenda.
This report aims to provide an insight into how the welfare reforms are affecting the guests at Doorway: those who are homeless or vulnerably housed in North Wiltshire. Although the sample size is not big enough to make robust general assertions about the impact of reform, we hope to illustrate the rhetoric surrounding reform with stories from the real people who are experiencing it and who sadly are often overlooked.
The first section of the report will provide a quantitative analysis of the data we collected. It will show figures surrounding changes in benefits over the past year and how these have affected our guests. The second section will take a qualitative approach to the data and will outline narratives of certain guests who have experienced major changes to their income in the past year. During the exercise of completing the surveys on a one to one level, many guests were keen to outline how they would organise the welfare system if they had a chance. Section three gives an overview of four of these suggestions and gives a platform to those who are part of the system to say how they would organise it.