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Having a voice: A collaborative research project exploring the challenges and assets of people experiencing homelessness

Rachel Massie (Institute for Community Research and Development, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK) (Centre for Health and Development, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK)
Richard Machin (School of Health and Social Care, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK)
Fiona McCormack (Centre for Health and Development, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK)
Judith Kurth (Centre for Health and Development, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 15 August 2018

Issue publication date: 5 October 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the lived experience of people who have experienced homelessness and street activity, and professional stakeholders’ views about the challenges faced by this client group. The study sought to identify measures to improve the current situation for both individuals experiencing homelessness and professionals working with them.

Design/methodology/approach

Peer researchers with lived experience of multiple and complex needs conducted semi-structured interviews/surveys with 18 participants (eight individuals experiencing homelessness and street activity and ten professional stakeholders). The authors of the paper conducted a thematic analysis of the data.

Findings

This paper offers insights into both the current challenges and assets for people who are or have been homeless in an urban setting. Key findings include the need for a coordinated partnership approach to address pathways to support, and the importance of developing opportunities for meaningful activity and building on local resources including giving homeless people a voice. These findings are discussed within the context of current policy (Housing First) and legislation (Homelessness Reduction Act 2017) and the impact on integrated care for people who have experienced homelessness.

Research limitations/implications

The views explored in this study are specific to one city centre in the West Midlands; thus, generalisability may be limited.

Originality/value

This study presents a participatory research approach with peer researchers exploring the perspective of individuals experiencing homelessness and wider stakeholders. The findings of this research are considered with reference to the provisions of the HRA 2017.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all the individuals and organisations who participated in this research project. Special thanks must go to the peer researchers, who have lived experience of multiple and complex needs. Finally, the authors would like to thank all those who supported the project: Dr Chris Gidlow, Penny Vincent, Jane Morton, Andy Meakin, Ben Wilson, Simon Whittaker and Rachele Hine. This research was supported by a grant from VOICES.

Citation

Massie, R., Machin, R., McCormack, F. and Kurth, J. (2018), "Having a voice: A collaborative research project exploring the challenges and assets of people experiencing homelessness", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 342-352. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-02-2018-0017

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited