Homelessness and housing exclusion

I-SPHERE has a longstanding track record of research examining the experiences, needs and perspectives of many of the most vulnerable and excluded groups in the housing market, such as homeless people, individuals fleeing domestic violence, new migrants, young people, ex-offenders, people with substance misuse problems, and those at risk of losing their home through anti-social behaviour. I-SPHERE researchers have vast experience of assessing approaches to tackling the needs of homeless families, rough sleepers, and young homeless people, amongst other groups.  Core themes running through recent work have included investigations of the impact of welfare reform, relationships between homelessness and other aspects of extreme disadvantage, homelessness causation and prevention, and assessments of housing supply. Much of this work has had a direct influence on homelessness and housing policy within and beyond the UK.

TitleAboutDatesFunderLead researcher
Housing First EvaluationHeriot Watt is involved in a collaborative evaluation, led by ICF consulting, of the Housing First Pilots in England for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.2018-2022Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local GovernmentSarah Johnsen
The Housing First Scotland Pathfinder projectThe Housing First Scotland Pathfinder project represents a significant development in the expansion of Housing First (HF) provision across Scotland within the context of a broader policy shift toward rapid rehousing by default. Funded by Social Bite and Scottish Government, the programme is being managed by Corra Foundation. It has involved the development of five Pathfinder Projects covering six local authority areas over a two-year period: Glasgow - 300; Edinburgh – at least 50 and up to 275; Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire – 120; Dundee – 100; Stirling – 20. In each, a consortium of service providers has been commissioned to deliver housing and wrap-around support for homeless people with complex needs. The research aims to document project outcomes, costs and operational lessons learned during the Pathfinder Project.
2018-2021Corra FoundationSarah Johnsen
Homelessness and destitution in Newcastle - Exploring the role of the ‘local state’ in the context of austerity and welfare reformThis study aims to illuminate how Newcastle’s ‘local state’ (NCC and key partners) has responded to the combined welfare reform, austerity and homelessness prevention challenges to date, and to consider how local policy and resources might best be deployed to address these challenges in the years ahead. Whilst the Homelessness Prevention Trailblazer will form the core of the research, the study will encompass Newcastle's wider ambition for a system change programme that creates "coherent responses to the most fundamental changes to the welfare state in 60 years"2018-2019Newcastle City CouncilBeth Watts
Centre for Homelessness Impact - evidence map of process evaluations of homelessness interventionsThe Centre for Homelessness Impact commissioned Heriot Watt to develop an evidence map of what works
The Evidence and Gap Maps bring together evidence on homelessness interventions from around the world to highlight where evidence does or doesn’t exist on what works and why they work or not. It is designed to help target research investments faster and in a more strategic, impactful way.
Further information
2018Centre for Homelessness ImpactJenny Wood
Hard Edges Scotland Developing a profile of severe and multiple disadvantage with supplementary case studiesHard Edges Scotland will produce similar analysis as Hard Edges England for Scotland. It also provides an in-depth and holistic analysis of local systemic responses, taking account of service provider perspectives and service contexts. Using case study areas the research explores both contrasts and continuities in the challenges encountered, and changes required, across different sorts of places and communities.
2018Lankelly Chase Foundation
Robertson Trust
Suzanne Fitzpatrick
Temporary Accommodation in ScotlandThe study aims to provide a detailed understanding of the nature, purpose and use of Temporary Accommodation (TA) across Scotland. It looks at the definition, types, purpose, quality and appropriateness and costs of TA and variations in this across Scotland and across homeless groups. It examines the
experiences, at individual household level, in terms of length and
patterns and satisfaction with TA. It provides recommendations on the future shape, nature and function of TA in Scotland.Further information
2018Social BiteBeth Watts
The Alternatives For Including Non-household Populations In Estimates Of Personal Well-being And DestitutionThis project is to look at alternative ways in which "non-household" populations can be counted in measures of living standards and personal well-being.
The project has two main stages:
• a review of literature and data sources covering the populations and settings of interest
• a detailed feasibility phase to test specific approaches to measuring the main characteristics and circumstances of a range of the populations of interest
The non-private household (NPHH) population includes people living in: care homes; long-stay hospitals; military accommodation; immigration removal centres; students in halls of residence; travellers in caravan sites; prisons; hostels for homeless; bed and breakfasts and unsupported temporary accommodation; homeless people sleeping rough; sofa surfers
The first stage has been completed and the report highlights what is known for each of the NPHH groups on the size of the population, living standards and well being and recommendations for improvements. Further information
2018Office of National StatisticsGlen Bramley
Ideal Homelessness System Using the learning from all three statutory homelessness systems in Great Britain, and that gained from international comparisons this work sets out the key principles of an ideal statutory homelessness system.
The work was commissioned by Crisis and informs their Plan to End Homelessness.
Further information
2018CrisisSuzanne Fitzpatrick
Housing supply requirements across Great Britain for low-income households and homeless peopleThe project examines the scale of additional housing needed across England, Scotland and Wales, with particular emphasis on meeting the housing requirements of low income households and homeless people. The research highlights the current need (including backlog of need) and future housing requirements across the entire market, with focus on the need for housing products which are accessible and affordable to households at the sub market level.Further information2018National Housing Federation and CrisisGlen Bramley
Evidence Centre on UK Housing Heriot Watt University is a partner in the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE). The centre, a consortium of academic and sector leaders was established in 2017 to provide a leading voice in the UK on housing policy and
practice. The Centre draws together an expert, multi-disciplinary, multi-sector team to share learning from regions and countries and establish more effective mechanisms for exchanging evidence and learning across devolved jurisdictions. The centre aims include to lead comprehensive research and foster innovation.
Further information
2017-2022EHRCSuzanne Fitzpatrick
Oak Foundation Evaluation and Research on HomelessnessThe project supports the development of a stream of early career researchers equipped to undertake high-quality policy and practice applied research on homelessness through establishing and managing a bespoke internship scheme.
It also provides expert advice and support on the research and evaluation for projects funded through Oak Foundations Homelessness programme. Futrher information
2017-2021The Oak FoundationSuzanne Fitzpatrick
Qualitative pilot evaluation of pharmacist input into clinical care of homeless peopleThis qualitative study will assess homeless people’s perceptions and personal experiences of dedicated clinical (prescribing) pharmacist input into their clinical care.2017-2019NHSSarah Johnsen
Eradicating ‘Core Homelessness’ in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen: Providing and Evidence BaseThe research provides an evidence base for the disbursement of an estimated £4 million to relevant service provider organisations in Scotland’s four largest cities to work towards the eradication of the most extreme forms of homelessness.
Further information
2017-2018Social BiteBeth Watts
Supported Lodgings pilotThe study reviewed existing practice and research literature, and undertook primary qualitative research with sector experts across England and Scotland, existing and potential Supported Lodgings ‘hosts’, and young people with experience of homelessness themselves. It explores the opportunities and challenges associated with scaling Supported Lodgings in Scotland.
Further information
2017-2018Shelter Scotland
The Scottish Government via the European Social Fund’s Social Innovation Fund
Beth Watts
Ending Rough Sleeping – What WorksThe existing evidence base on the effectiveness of interventions with rough sleepers is piecemeal and scattered with key findings far from accessible to policy makers. For this reason Crisis commissioned this review of the existing international evidence base. Further Information
2017CrisisSarah Johnsen
Time for ChangeAn evaluation of Shelter Scotland’s Time for Change project based in Dundee which aimed to establish and train volunteer peer mentors with lived experience of multiple and complex needs to assist homeless people to access and engage with services. The report evaluates the impact on volunteers and those helped and assessed effectiveness of the model as a mechanism for sustainable change. Further information2017Shelter Scotland The Scottish Government via the Eurpoean Social Fund’s Social Innovation FundSarah Johnsen
Hard Edges: Developing a profile of severe and multiple disadvantage in EnglandHard Edges provided a statistical profile of severe and multiple disadvantage in England for adults involved in the homelessness, substance misuse and criminal justice systems. Through interrogation of a range of data sets it estimates the numbers of people living with different combinantions of problems, their demographic and geographic pofile. The report identified strong links to poverty and mental ill-health amongst the SMD group and examined underlying causes, circumstances and triggers for people’s pathways in and out of the homelessness, substance misuse and criminal justice systems. Further information
2016-2017Lankelly Chase FoundationFilip Sosenko
Hard Edges: Developing a profile of severe and multiple disadvantage in EnglandHard Edges provided a statistical profile of severe and multiple disadvantage in England for adults involved in the homelessness, substance misuse and criminal justice systems. Through interrogation of a range of data sets it estimates the numbers of people living with different combinantions of problems, their demographic and geographic pofile. The report identified strong links to poverty and mental ill-health amongst the SMD group and examined underlying causes, circumstances and triggers for people’s pathways in and out of the homelessness, substance misuse and criminal justice systems.
Further information
2012-2015Lankelly Chase FoundationSuzanne Fitzpatrick
Homelessness MonitorThe Homelessness monitor is a longditudinal study commissioned by Crisis and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The monitor defines ‘core’ and ‘wider’ homelessness and measures the scale of these phenomena for England, Wales and Scotland, as well as forecasting future trends. It examines the impact of policy and legislation on homelessness across the UK.Further information

2011-2021CrisisBramley and Fitzpatrick