Skip to content Accessibility statement

University looks at problems of homelessness

Posted on 11 March 2003

Boredom, isolation and friendlessness are all factors that may prevent formerly homeless people from settling in new homes and communities. Tenancies may break down and the homeless may return to living on the streets.

Homelessness is not simply a housing matter - people need support that goes far beyond simply providing a roof over their head. Now the University of York's Centre for Housing Policy has been commissioned by the charity Crisis to investigate the role of daytime provision in helping people rebuild their lives, to form social networks, and find meaningful occupation. Provision may range from drop-in centres for basic needs, to schemes to equip people with skills, and perhaps back into education and employment.

Dr Anwen Jones, who is conducting the research with Nicholas Pleace, said: "It can be difficult for people to cope after they have been rehoused. They might be placed in accommodation in an area that they do not know and where they have no informal social support from friends and family. The factors that contributed to their homelessness in the first place might not have been resolved, and they may have to cope with complex personal problems as well as isolation and boredom."

Research suggests that even when they have a home, people continue to use services provided for homeless people, and the research will explore the reasons for this. It will also examine the changing role of daytime provision. In the past day centres for homeless people simply provided the basics such as food, washing facilities, and health care but now many providers recognise the need for a more holistic approach to resettlement, which includes raising self-esteem and developing social skills, life skills training, education and employment training.

Dr Jones added: "While some areas, particularly in London and the larger cities, have well developed daytime services, provision is patchy and in some areas there is no daytime provision at all."

The Centre for Housing Policy will be looking at three key areas:

  • The role and nature of daytime provision, gaps in provision, and examples of good practice within and outside the homelessness sector;
  • What being homeless means to those who are homeless, and those trying to help them
  • Current funding arrangements and possibilities for future funding streams for homelessness provision.

Notes to editors:

  • The Centre for Housing Policy was established in 1990 with the support of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The Centre was designed to become a leader in policy relevant to housing research and has since established itself as one of the leading centre of housing and social policy research in the UK.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153