Mental Health and Homelessness: New Understanding and New Solutions

Monday 8 June 2015, 1.00PM to 2pm

Speaker(s): Nicholas Pleace, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Housing Policy, University of York


Poor mental health is associated with sustained and recurrent homelessness. However, European homelessness research has often not been able to move beyond reporting a mutually reinforcing, but ultimately unclear, set of relationships between poor mental health, problematic drug and alcohol use, poor social integration, low level criminality and sustained and recurrent homelessness. Research has also sometimes been limited by historical and mass cultural images of homelessness that can create a context in which individual pathology is still  assumed to lie at the root of homelessness, an assumption that can potentially distort data collection and analysis.

Pioneering work on homelessness causation in North America, which is now starting to influence European research, has suggested that homelessness exists in specific forms, with clearer patterns of causation, centred on systemic failures in mental health services, welfare, criminal justice and social care systems becoming evident. 

A reconceptualization of the relationships between mental health problems and homelessness has helped create a context in which new forms of intervention, particularly the Housing First model, have been able to emerge. These new services, while still being developed and debated, are now providing much more effective solutions to sustained and recurrent homelessness than have hitherto been achieved.  

Nicholas Pleace has been a researcher in housing policy for twenty-five years.

All welcome! Please come along with your lunch for an invigorating discussion.

Link to Alcuin B block on map of campus

Location: Alcuin B Block, Room 111-112. Social Policy Research Unit