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21 March 2023

Homelessness and public health impacts of housing-led interventions

Major new study examines the health impacts of providing housing plus intensive forms of support

Six houses

The study will work across four English local authorities

King's College London and partners have been awarded £1.3 million from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Public Health Research Programme to explore the health impacts of housing-led interventions. Housing-led interventions such as Housing First provide people with a permanent home and ‘wrap around’ support. Initially, the study will work with four local authority areas across England to understand the barriers and facilitators to rapidly rehousing people who have multiple and complex needs linked to rough sleeping. The researchers (some of whom have lived experiences of homelessness) will then follow people’s journey over the space of the year, looking at how housing-led support is experienced from a health and well-being perspective.

Comparing outcomes

To understand the impact on health services, the study will use data from the National Health Service to compare the health of people living in different types of accommodation. Paying special attention to people with long-term health issues such as heart and lung conditions, the study will establish whether housing-led interventions can reduce the risk of being admitted to hospital. Data linkage will also be undertaken to provide the first large scale study of health and mortality among a cohort of people sleeping rough. We anticipate that this work will gain substantial attention both for the field of inclusion health generally and for this study of housing-led systems.

A collaborative study

The study is being led by Professor Michelle Cornes from Salford University (and Visiting Professorial Fellow at KCL) and Professor Andrew Hayward (UCL) who is the UK Health Security Agency National Lead for Inclusion Health. The other researchers from King's are Jess Harris and Jo Coombes, both of the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce. Colleagues from the LSE are also involved as well as from the London Borough of Southwark. Homeless Link, the national umbrella organisation for homeless services in England, are working closely with the research team to ensure that the findings are put to good effect.

Project page

The study, which runs from 2023 till 2026, is called: Housing Model Evaluation (HOME): Improvements in health associated with housing-led systems for people experiencing homelessness.

The research team have their inaugural in-person meeting next week in London, hosted by the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, home to the Homelessness Research Programme at King's.

In this story

Michelle Cornes

Visiting Professorial Fellow

Jess Harris

Research Fellow

Research Assistant