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Institute for Social Responsibility

ISRA 2021/2 Wellbeing and Homeless Families

ISRA Research Project:

Wellbeing, Resilience and Stressors Affecting Homeless Families in UK and Ireland:

Understanding Experiences of Covid-19 and Implications for Policy

An aerial view of a town in daylight.


The number of homeless families in the Republic of Ireland increased by 232% from 2014 to 2020; and homelessness has increased significantly in the UK between 2011 and 2018 (O’Leary and Simcock, 2020). While there has been focus on reducing rough sleeping during the pandemic, there has been little focus on the experiences of homeless families in temporary accommodation, including the potential impacts of Covid-19 on households and perceived impacts on wellbeing encompassing physical and mental health for parents and children.

This study engages with subjective experiences of wellbeing among homeless families, offering hitherto unknown insights about Covid-19 impacts on families in temporary and/or inadequate accommodation. Significantly, this research focuses on the effectiveness of different Government responses to Covid-19 for homeless families, with regards to accommodation and related wellbeing needs, effectiveness of communication from/with services during the pandemic, and managing social distancing (SD) in inadequate and/or temporary living conditions.

Aims of the project:

Launched in March 2021, this 12-month research study will act as an exploratory study to identify current gaps in the literature and examine emerging issues in regards to wellbeing for homeless families in the UK and Ireland. To answer the research question, the study will include the following activities:

  • A review of UK and Irish policies and services for homeless families during Covid-19
  • A Rapid Evidence Assessment to review the academic and non-academic literature on homelessness and wellbeing
  • A qualitative pilot study with homeless families and services in Manchester (UK) and Cork (Ireland)

Internal Partners:

  • Dr Tom Simcock (PI), Edge Hill University, Evaluation and Policy Analysis Unit (EPA)

External Partners:

  • Dr Lisa Moran


Anticipated outcomes by March 2022.

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