Homelessness is a complex concept that describes a heterogenous population. Existing research is this area is interdisciplinary and overlaps critical issues across housing, social inequalities, ethics, and law. Our research is health-focus and pragmatic: aimed at understanding and improving the healthcare experiences of some of the most excluded and disadvantaged groups of people in the UK. This research involves vulnerable and ‘hard to reach’ people, which presents particular challenges for ethical and effective data collection and participant involvement.
It is estimated that 90 families become homeless every day in the UK (Shelter, 2022). Homelessness describes a diverse range of experiences, from rough sleeping to living in a hostel. These circumstances are characterised by poverty, vulnerability, and barriers to accessing basic amenities and comforts. People experiencing homelessness (PEH) often struggle to access appropriate healthcare services, despite being at higher risk of poor health (Fazel et al 2016). The average age of death for a PEH is 44 years for men and 42 for women, compared to 76 years for men and 81 years for women in the general population (ONS 2018). A study by Aldridge et al (2019) found that many of these premature deaths were due to routine and treatable conditions and could have been avoided through timely and effective healthcare.