The provision of accommodation must be central to any discussions about ending homelessness. Homelessness is a multifaceted and complex issue and many accommodation-based approaches have evolved across the globe to incorporate additional support and services beyond the delivery of housing, while other interventions deliver only emergency housing which might be insufficient to meet all those needs.
So that services can ensure that they are making an impact and improving the lives and outcomes of people experiencing homelessness it is important to take a closer look at the effectiveness of different accommodation-based interventions so that we can learn how to improve housing stability, health, employment opportunities and health of the people who use these services.
This systematic review of qualitative and quantitative evidence has two components.
Firstly, it compares the relative effectiveness of these different housing models and their impact in terms of housing stability and health, but also explores crime, cost, employment and income, capabilities and wellbeing. This is done through a‘network meta-analysis’ for housing and health outcomes which compares each type of intervention against each other
Secondly, this review also draws in the qualitative evidence around the barriers and facilitators for the implementation of these interventions. Brought together, the quantitative and qualitative findings give us a more nuanced understanding to inform the development of new accommodation-based interventions.
This review highlights the benefits of using a typology to describe different types of interventions and their characteristics. Future evaluations should also attempt to measure the impact on outcomes other than housing stability and health, and in other locations outside North America, which may have very different social welfare systems where different impacts could be expected.
Ciara Keenan, Queen's University Belfast
Sarah Miller, Queen's University Belfast
Jennifer Hanratty, Queen's University Belfast
Terri Pigott, Queen's University Belfast
Jayne Hamilton, Queen's University Belfast
Christopher Coughlan, Queen's University Belfast
Accommodation-based programmes for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness
In order to design and deliver quality accommodation based interventions, it is vital that we produce more rigorous evidence in the UK so the sector can deliver services that are truly beneficial to the people receiving them.