Newham takes part in major study to improve Covid-19 outcomes for the homeless

PUBLISHED: 17:25 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:46 08 September 2020

The groundbreaking study aims to improve homelessness responses and outcomes following the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

The groundbreaking study aims to improve homelessness responses and outcomes following the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Newham is taking part in a major study to evaluate the effectiveness of town hall responses to homelessness after Covid-19.

A research team will work directly with local authorities and people experiencing homelessness to run a unique study to inform decision-making and improve people’s situations.

Cllr Zulfiqar Ali, lead member for adults and health, said: “As a local authority, moving towards a robust, evidence-based approach to helping those who are street homeless is central to our commitment to deliver services that truly work for the people who live in the borough.

“By taking part in this study, we can build upon the good work that has been done, particularly our efforts during the pandemic.”

The study – the first of its kind in the UK – is being led by the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CHI) and academics at Cardiff University.

The randomised controlled trial will assess which housing options are most likely to get positive results.

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Many people experiencing street homelessness were offered emergency accommodation to help them safely self-isolate during lockdown.

The study aims to provide insight into tackling homelessness and Covid-19 as councils begin to make more suitable housing arrangements for those currently living in hotels and other emergency accommodation.

Local authorities taking part will help the research team to follow individuals over a period of 12 months to work out how they are doing, looking at housing stability, health and wellbeing.

The aim is to reduce the rate of Covid-19 infection as well as the risk of returning to homelessness for former rough sleepers.

Titled Moving On, the study has been awarded £660,000 funding from the Economic and Social Research Council.

CHI chief executive officer, Dr Ligia Teixeira, said: “As we stand on the precipice of a world fundamentally changed by coronavirus, we must take this opportunity to use evidence to improve outcomes for those most affected.

“It is our hope that in conducting this trial, we can give local authorities that are operating with limited resources, the tools they need to ensure that people are not returning to the streets.”

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