I-SPHERE has a longstanding track record of research examining the experiences, needs and perspectives of many of the most vulnerable and excluded groups in the housing market, such as homeless people, individuals fleeing domestic violence, new migrants, young people, ex-offenders, people with substance misuse problems, and those at risk of losing their home through anti-social behaviour. I-SPHERE researchers have vast experience of assessing approaches to tackling the needs of homeless families, rough sleepers, and young homeless people, amongst other groups.  Core themes running through recent work have included investigations of the impact of welfare reform, relationships between homelessness and other aspects of extreme disadvantage, homelessness causation and prevention, and assessments of housing supply. Much of this work has had a direct influence on homelessness and housing policy within and beyond the UK.

TitleAboutDatesFunderLead Researcher(s)Link
Qualitative study of women’s experiences of severe and multiple disadvantageBuilding upon I-SPHERE’s ‘Hard Edges’ reports and recent gendered profile of severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD), this project will seek women’s views on the effectiveness and timing of service interventions intended to prevent, ameliorate and/or resolve SMD.2021-2023Oak FoundationSarah Johnsen
The COVID-19 crisis response to homelessness in Great BritainThe COVID-19 crisis response to homelessness in Great Britain in partnership with CaCHE provides a comparative examination of responses to homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis across England, Scotland and Wales. The research will explore the impact of crisis interventions and elements of the COVID-19 crisis response should be embedded in post-pandemic homelessness policy and practice.2020-2021ESRCSuzanne FitzpatrickFurther Information
Homelessness amongst EEA nationalsThis is a joint project with Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) and University College London (UCL). It will (1) develop a data model to estimate current levels of homelessness amongst EEA nationals and (2) inform a better understanding of the causes and impacts of homelessness amongst EEA nationals specifically.2020-2021CrisisGlen Bramley
Evaluation of Institute of Global Homelessness A Place to Call Home ProgrammeThis international research project examines the progress of 13 vanguard cities across the globe who signed up to targets to reduce street homelessness under the IGH A Place to call home initiative. It examines the various approaches taken in the cities to reducing street homelessness including in response to the COVID 19 pandemic and aims to identify lessons to inform international street homeless responses.2020-2021Oak FoundationSuzanne Fitzpatrick and Beth Watts
Impact of COVID-19 on Scottish family povertyThis evaluation of Aberlour’s Covid 19 Urgent Assistance Fund highlighted the impact of Covid 19 on Scottish family poverty.2020AberlourMorag TreanorFurther Information
Evaluation of the impact of Minimum Unit PricingLed by Glasgow Caledonia University this project will examine the impact of the Scottish Legislation on minimum unit pricing on people experiencing homelessness.2019-2020Chief Scientist OfficeSarah Johnsen
Gender MattersFollowing on from Hard Edges, this study set out to establish the statistical profile of women affected by severe and multiple disadvantage in England.2019Lankelly Chase FoundationSarah Johnsen, Glen Bramley and Filip SosenkoFull Report
Housing First EvaluationHeriot Watt is involved in a collaborative evaluation, led by ICF consulting, of the Housing First Pilots in England for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.2018-2022Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local GovernmentSarah Johnsen
The Housing First Scotland Pathfinder projectThe Housing First Scotland Pathfinder project represents a significant development in the expansion of Housing First (HF) provision across Scotland within the context of a broader policy shift toward rapid rehousing by default. Funded by Social Bite and Scottish Government, the programme is being managed by Corra Foundation. It has involved the development of five Pathfinder Projects covering six local authority areas over a two-year period: Glasgow – 300; Edinburgh – at least 50 and up to 275; Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire – 120; Dundee – 100; Stirling – 20. In each, a consortium of service providers has been commissioned to deliver housing and wrap-around support for homeless people with complex needs. The research aims to document project outcomes, costs and operational lessons learned during the Pathfinder Project.2018-2021Corra FoundationSarah Johnsen
Homelessness and destitution in Newcastle – Exploring the role of the ‘local state’ in the context of austerity and welfare reformThis study aims to illuminate how Newcastle’s ‘local state’ (NCC and key partners) has responded to the combined welfare reform, austerity and homelessness prevention challenges to date, and to consider how local policy and resources might best be deployed to address these challenges in the years ahead.2018-2019Newcastle City CouncilBeth WattsFull Report
Housing supply requirements across Great Britain for low-income households and homeless peopleThe project examines the scale of additional housing needed across England, Scotland and Wales, with particular emphasis on meeting the housing requirements of low income households and homeless people. The research highlights the current need (including backlog of need) and future housing requirements across the entire market, with focus on the need for housing products which are accessible and affordable to households at the sub market level.2018, 2020National Housing Federation and CrisisGlen BramleyFull Report
Centre for Homelessness Impact – evidence map of process evaluations of homelessness interventions The Centre for Homelessness Impact commissioned Heriot Watt to develop an evidence map of what works.
The Evidence and Gap Maps bring together evidence on homelessness interventions from around the world to highlight where evidence does or doesn’t exist on what works and why they work or not. It is designed to help target research investments faster and in a more strategic, impactful way.
2018Centre for Homelessness ImpactGap Maps
Hard Edges Scotland Developing a profile of severe and multiple disadvantage with supplementary case studiesHard Edges Scotland commissioned by Lankelly Chase and The Robertson Trust highlights the complexity of the lives of people facing multiple disadvantage north of the border. It also details the challenges that charitable services and the public sector are facing. In particular, the report illustrates the mismatch between the multiple disadvantages people face and the fact that services are often set up to address ‘single issues’.2018Lankelly Chase Foundation Robertson TrustSuzanne FitzpatrickFull Report
Ideal Homelessness SystemUsing the learning from all three statutory homelessness systems in Great Britain, and that gained from international comparisons this work sets out the key principles of an ideal statutory homelessness system. The work was commissioned by Crisis and informs their Plan to End Homelessness.2018CrisisSuzanne FitzpatrickFurther Information
Temporary Accommodation in ScotlandThe study aims to provide a detailed understanding of the nature, purpose and use of Temporary Accommodation (TA) across Scotland. It looks at the definition, types, purpose, quality and appropriateness and costs of TA and variations in this across Scotland and across homeless groups. It examines the experiences, at individual household level, in terms of length and patterns and satisfaction with TA. It provides recommendations on the future shape, nature and function of TA in Scotland.2018Social BiteBeth WattsFull Report
The Alternatives For Including Non-household Populations In Estimates Of Personal Well-being And DestitutionThis project is to look at alternative ways in which “non-household” populations can be counted in measures of living standards and personal well-being.2018Office of National StatisticsGlen BramleyWorking Paper
Evidence Centre on UK HousingHeriot Watt University is a partner in the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE). The centre, a consortium of academic and sector leaders was established in 2017 to provide a leading voice in the UK on housing policy and practice. The Centre draws together an expert, multi-disciplinary, multi-sector team to share learning from regions and countries and establish more effective mechanisms for exchanging evidence and learning across devolved jurisdictions. The centre aims include to lead comprehensive research and foster innovation.2017-2022EHRCSuzanne FitzpatrickFurther Information
Oak Foundation Evaluation and Research on HomelessnessThe project supports the development of a stream of early career researchers equipped to undertake high-quality policy and practice applied research on homelessness through establishing and managing a bespoke internship scheme. It also provides expert advice and support on the research and evaluation for projects funded through Oak Foundations Homelessness programme2017-2021The Oak FoundationSuzanne FitzpatrickFurther Information
Qualitative pilot evaluation of pharmacist input into clinical care of homeless peopleThis qualitative study assessed homeless people’s perceptions and personal experiences of dedicated clinical (prescribing) pharmacist input into their clinical care.2017-2019NHSSarah JohnsenFull Report
Eradicating ‘Core Homelessness’ in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen: Providing and Evidence BaseThe research provides an evidence base for the disbursement of an estimated £4 million to relevant service provider organisations in Scotland’s four largest cities to work towards the eradication of the most extreme forms of homelessness.2017-2018Social BiteBeth WattsFull Report
Supported Lodgings pilotThe study reviewed existing practice and research literature, and undertook primary qualitative research with sector experts across England and Scotland, existing and potential Supported Lodgings ‘hosts’, and young people with experience of homelessness themselves. It explores the opportunities and challenges associated with scaling Supported Lodgings in Scotland.2017-2018Shelter Scotland and The Scottish Government via the European Social Fund’s Social Innovation FundBeth WattsFull Report
Ending Rough Sleeping – What WorksThe existing evidence base on the effectiveness of interventions with rough sleepers is piecemeal and scattered with key findings far from accessible to policy makers. For this reason Crisis commissioned this review of the existing international evidence base.2017CrisisSarah JohnsenFull Report
Time for ChangeAn evaluation of Shelter Scotland’s Time for Change project based in Dundee which aimed to establish and train volunteer peer mentors with lived experience of multiple and complex needs to assist homeless people to access and engage with services. The report evaluates the impact on volunteers and those helped and assessed effectiveness of the model as a mechanism for sustainable change.2017Shelter Scotland The Scottish Government via the Eurpoean Social Fund’s Social Innovation FundSarah JohnsenFull Report
Hard Edges: Developing a profile of severe and multiple disadvantage in EnglandHard Edges provided a statistical profile of severe and multiple disadvantage in England for adults involved in the homelessness, substance misuse and criminal justice systems. Through interrogation of a range of data sets it estimates the numbers of people living with different combinations of problems, their demographic and geographic profile. The report identified strong links to poverty and mental ill-health amongst the SMD group and examined underlying causes, circumstances and triggers for people’s pathways in and out of the homelessness, substance misuse and criminal justice systems.2012-2015Lankelly Chase FoundationSuzanne FitzpatrickFull Report
Homelessness MonitorThe Homelessness monitor is a longditudinal study commissioned by Crisis and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The monitor defines ‘core’ and ‘wider’ homelessness and measures the scale of these phenomena for England, Wales and Scotland, as well as forecasting future trends. It examines the impact of policy and legislation on homelessness across the UK.2011-2021CrisisGlen Bramley and Suzanne FitzpatrickFurther Information