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Rebuilding Lives


Supporting formerly homeless people to achieve independent living

The Rebuilding Lives study examined the experiences and longer-term outcomes for single homeless people who have been resettled. For the first time in the UK, information was collected about formerly homeless people five years after they were resettled. It was a follow-on of the FOR-HOME study (conducted at the University of Sheffield) which interviewed 400 homeless people in London, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire at the time they were resettled and after six and 18 months.

The objectives of Rebuilding Lives were:

  1. To collect evidence of the circumstances of formerly homeless people five years after being rehoused, their ability to sustain tenancies and achieve independent living, and the proportion who still require support.
  2. To examine the characteristics of those who continue to receive or need longer-term support, how their support needs have changed over time, and whether and how their needs are currently met.
  3. To identify the roles of different practitioners (social care, health and housing agencies) in providing longer-term support to formerly homeless people, ways of working that have proved effective, and the challenges and difficulties of delivering this support.
  4. To contribute to: (a) policy, public health, and commissioning debates about the provision of longer-term support for formerly homeless people in order to prevent repeat homelessness; and (b) practice debates about the support that is required to enable formerly homeless people cope with managing a tenancy, achieve independence, and rebuild their lives.


2013 – 2015

Research team

Maureen Crane, Louise Joly and Jill Manthorpe (SCWRU)
Sarah Coward, John Miles and Ruby Fernandez-Fu assisted with tracking, interviewing and data entry
Collaborators: Broadway, Centrepoint, St Mungo’s and Thames Reach in London; Framework in Nottinghamshire; and, St Anne’s Community Services in South Yorkshire


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research


There were 297 participants in the study. Information was collected during interviews about: (i) their housing arrangements, including moves and reasons: (ii) management of household tasks; (iii) income sources, management of finances and bills, and debts; (iv) family relationships and social networks; (v) health and substance misuse problems, and treatment/help received; (vi) use of community facilities; (vii) support received from services in the previous12 months; (viii) involvement in education, training, volunteering and employment; and (ix) ambitions and future plans. Different strategies were used to trace the participants who had moved or left their accommodation. Interviews were also conducted with workers who had provided support to the participants during the previous 12 months.

Our Partners


NIHR School for Social Care Research

Project status: Completed

Principal Investigator