Rural minority ethnic experiences: housing and health

Author(s): Philomena de Lima;  

Briefing series: Better Housing Briefing Paper 7

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: March 2008

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Rural minority ethnic experiences: housing and health
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This briefing examines the experience of black and minority ethnic service users based in rural areas. With most black and minority ethnic groups traditionally based in urban settings, potential barriers to access and use of services consistently emerge in rural contexts, including poor access to advice and information; language and communication difficulties; and lack of culturally sensitive services and investment in capacity building.  With poor monitoring practices in many areas, the association between ethnicity and 'non-White' individuals means that the needs of other groups, including A8 migrants, can often go unnoticed.

Key messages:

  • A recurrent theme is the emphasis on a 'numbers-led' rather than a 'needs-' or 'rights-led' approach to service delivery. This results in many policy and service providers ignoring the needs of rural minority ethnic people
  • In the rural context, potential barriers to access and use of services consistently emerge. These are: poor access to advice and information; language and communication difficulties; and lack of 'culturally sensitive' services and investment in capacity building
  • The main constraints that emerge in relation to housing are lack of knowledge and access to appropriate information and advice. In addition, there is a lack of understanding and skills among some housing providers with regard to the requirements of minority ethnic households
  • The lack of an evidence base makes it difficult to say with any certainty whether the health of rural minority ethnic households is any different from that of their urban counterparts as well as from rural residents in general. However, as with housing, similar concerns emerge from the scarce evidence that exists
  • Mechanisms for exchanging knowledge and practice are important. There is an urgent need to explore the most appropriate ways of achieving these
  • There is a need for consistent monitoring and evaluation of race equality policies and practices. In this context, gathering independent evidence which assesses the impact of policies and practice on rural minority ethnic households is vital. Many national government documents concerned with rural policy remain 'colour-blind'.

Sections:

  • Services in the rural context: numbers rather than needs or rights
  • Access to and use of services in rural areas
  • Housing experiences: constraints
  • Health care experiences: constraints
  • Responding to rural minority ethnic households: knowledge and practice exchanges
  • Monitoring and evaluation framework