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Is it possible to eradicate homelessness?

A major new 692,000 research initiative launches today with the aim of informing government policy and practice and finding solutions to bring vulnerable homeless people in from the margins of our society. The initiative intends to develop a greater understanding of homeless people who have to cope with multiple problems in their lives, such as drug or alcohol dependencies, severe mental health problems and institutional experiences, such as prison or long term hospital stays.

Homeless Link, the national umbrella organisation for frontline homelessness charities, together with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), Tenants Services Authority (TSA), National Institute of Mental Health in England (NIMHE) and Department of Health led the development of this significant research programme. The initiative is funding four projects to provide a solid evidence base for further policy and practice development.

Speaking on behalf of the partnership, Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said, "All the projects announced today will provide important new evidence about why vulnerable people with a wide variety of problems become homeless and how to prevent this in the future. This important programme of research will significantly expand our knowledge about a group of individuals who, because of their complex needs, often fall between the gaps of existing services."

Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive of Homeless Link also said, "We are particularly pleased that the research has close links with voluntary sector providers so that findings can be more easily disseminated to policy, practice and academic audiences. Addressing the needs of some of the most disadvantaged people in our society is key to preventing homelessness and achieving the Government's goal of ending rough sleeping by 2012. We look forward to working with the grant holders as their work develops."

Director of CLGs Housing Strategy and Support Directorate, Terrie Alafat, commented, "CLG is pleased to contribute to this unique partnership with the academic community, third sector organisations and other government agencies. Our strategy in tackling homelessness has been informed by evidence at every stage, which has helped us to achieve reductions in both rough sleeping and statutory homelessness. This programme of high quality and policy relevant academic research will improve our understanding of the most complex forms of multiple exclusion homelessness and enable us to tackle it more effectively. We look forward to working with all the partners in the programme to advance knowledge and inform action on the most severe forms of social exclusion."


Contact: Kelly Barnett
Economic & Social Research Council

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