How can we tackle the homelessness crisis?

The Social Market Foundation, the ESRC’s Ask the Expert series, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), and Sense about Science held a one-off panel discussion on how to tackle homelessness.

Homelessness has been rising in England and Northern Ireland, while rough sleeping has increased in Wales, and levels of temporary accommodation use remain exceptionally high in Scotland.

Devolution has led to some policy divergence in how homelessness prevention is approached in the UK. The commencement in April 2018 of the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) in England ushered in important new prevention-focused duties, replicating key aspects of those in place in Wales. Meanwhile in Scotland almost all homeless people have been entitled to rehousing since 2012. This event will reflect on lessons since devolution, the challenges of implementing the current measures in place in England, Scotland and Wales, and directions future policy might take to ensure we end homelessness. It will bring together researchers, policy makers, and specialists from the third sector, to discuss the rapidly changing policy landscape of homelessness prevention.

Panellists included experts from the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick  (Heriot-Watt University) and Dr Peter Mackie (Cardiff University), Matt Downie, Policy Director at Crisis, and Fiona Darby, Deputy Director for Homelessness Policy and Local Delivery at the Ministry for Housing Communities & Local Government. The discussion was chaired by SMF director, James Kirkup.

The event took place as part of Evidence Week in UK Parliament – an initiative of Sense about Science, the Commons Science and Technology Committee, the House of Commons Library, and POST.