In every city and most towns there is at least one housing estate where few people live, or even visit, unless they have to. These are sometimes called ‘problem estates’, and they are said to be inhabited by ‘problem families’. ‘Difficult’ is a less perjorative description which still conveys how such estates are regarded by housing managers and tenants alike. In this chapter we shall discuss how estates become difficult; what it is like living there; why they are of particular concern to social workers and probation officers; and how working practices have developed in response to clients impoverished quality of life.
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