by David Carless and Kitrina Douglas
“These Things” was written following an ethnographic research project, commissioned by the Addiction Recovery Agency and St Monica Trust, that sought to understand the experiences of residents and support staff of an urban local authority “elderly preferred” housing scheme. The scheme contained twenty-five self-contained flats, grouped under one roof, sharing an entrance, corridors, washing and communal room. The residents, aged 50 and over, comprised a diverse range of nationalities who had come to the housing scheme through varied and often complex life events. The support staff, a small group of female carers and mobile wardens, were charged with the responsibility of meeting residents care and support needs and maintaining the building. The research took place in the wake of a major recession and unprecedented cuts to services with the future of the housing scheme – along with the homes of the residents and livelihoods of the support staff – hanging in the balance.