This theme is concerned with deepening understanding of the multiple causes of homelessness, the experiences of those directly affected, and, crucially, the effectiveness of policy and practice responses to different forms of homelessness across the UK and internationally. The development of evaluative models which link qualitative analysis of homelessness realities with cost-benefit and other quantitative approaches to measuring intervention outcomes is a core objective of this theme.
The current main substantive focus of CaCHE work on homelessness is a critical examination of the shifting policies of homelessness prevention across the UK nations, with a view to mutual lesson learning. Across the UK, and the majority of the developed world, there has been a paradigm shift away from ‘warehousing’ homeless people in temporary accommodation towards prevention and rapid response-focussed interventions. The considerable homelessness prevention policy changes have been explored in individual UK nations, most notably through the Crisis/Joseph Rowntree Foundation-commissioned Homelessness Monitor series, but no attempt has yet been made to look across the nations in order to identify comparative lessons which might inform future practice across the UK and globally. This topic takes advantage of the ‘natural experiment’ generated by post-devolution policy divergence in this field.
Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick (Heriot-Watt University)
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