Homelessness and social inclusion

Fiona Cuthill*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

This chapter introduces the field of homelessness and social inclusion. It focuses in particular on the significance of homelessness as the result of severe social disadvantage over the course of an individual’s life. To do so, it is necessary to define and scope homelessness as both a subject area and also a lived experience. The underlying premise is that homelessness is not an isolated crisis event that can be investigated in a vacuum but is the result of global, structural, individual, and local inequalities. The study of homelessness and social inclusion is concerned with a broad range of areas including global economics, local housing supply, and experiences of personal trauma and abuse. It results in severe ill-health across the lifespan and is preventable. Nonetheless, homelessness is not a universal experience – as typically depicted by images of middle-aged men in dirty sleeping bags in shop doorways – but is experienced by individuals in diverse ways. For example, women’s homelessness is often invisible, young people can experience it as “sofa surfing” for a long time before they get to the streets, and refugees are regularly positioned as destitute, and so excluded from mainstream services. Finally, the solutions to homelessness lie in prevention, and specifically key interventions such as the provision of stable and affordable housing and trauma informed systems of support. Service provision should be informed by individuals with lived experience of homelessness to ensure they shape delivery, policy, and research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Social Inclusion
Subtitle of host publicationResearch and Practices in Health and Social Sciences
EditorsPranee Liamputtong
PublisherSpringer
Pages1-21
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783030482770
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • social exclusion
  • homelessness
  • inclusion
  • health inequalities
  • prevention
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • domestic abuse
  • housing first
  • trauma-informed care

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