PERU’s Housing and Homelessness research focuses on developing evidence based strategies towards improving housing stability and combating homelessness. The following case studies demonstrate the impact of this research in three key areas: Evidence Assessment, Funding Solutions and Preventing Homelessness. 

PERU is committed to collaborating with service providers and decision makers to develop innovative, evidence-based approaches to combat homelessness. This drive has produced a widely cited portfolio of evidence assessment with a clear policy influence. 

In 2021 PERU undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of abstinence-based and harm reduction-based interventions in reducing problematic substance use in adults experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage homelessness. This initiative was funded by the Centre for Homelessness Impact, the UK’s leading What Works centre for evidence-led practice surrounding homelessness. PERU has since published a protocol based on this review that aims to provide decision makers with practical, evidence-oriented information to help inform future policy in this area. 

PERU continues to collaborate with the Centre for Homelessness Impact to produce innovative solutions to homelessness. In 2022, PERU undertook an evidence synthesis of the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for a range of outcomes amongst adults experiencing homelessness. The work provides policy-makers, commissioners and practitioners with usable evidence to inform decision making.

PERU has produced a significant portfolio of projects exploring innovative, evidence-based solutions to the funding of homelessness services and new accommodation strategies. This supports the wider PERU objective of preventing homelessness and improving housing choices and stability. 

In 2021, PERU was commissioned by the Bridges Outcomes Partnerships to evaluate two social-outcomes contracts, Kirklees Better Outcomes Partnership and Greater Manchester Youth Homelessness Prevention Project, both funded through co-created and strength-based social impact bonds (SIBs). This built upon PERU’s pioneering research on the effectiveness of SIBs and contributed to the knowledge-base underpinning the wider debate on homelessness and public service reform. 

PERU has since continued to strengthen its reputation as an authoritative voice in the SIB debate with published work that draws from the SIB case study evaluations and bridges social innovation and housing and homelessness as research areas. This research presents an empirical body of evidence that signposts the potential of SIBs as a funding solution for public service reform. 

In 2022, PERU led a collaborative evaluation of the ‘Everyone In’ social investment pilot in partnership with Big Society Capital and a range of other key stakeholders including frequent collaborator the Centre for Homelessness Impact. The pilot, launched by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in 2021, aims to deliver over 200 move-on homes to rough sleepers and individuals at risk of homelessness. PERU’s evaluative strategy includes a feasibility study, a process evaluation, an impact evaluation and an economic evaluation. Crucially, PERU’s approach foregrounds the lived experiences of those accessing the scheme, and the interim findings of the evaluation are fed back into the pilot in order to inform its ongoing development.  

PERU’s housing research focuses on working with stakeholders to develop insightful interventions and approaches to improve housing choice and housing stability in order to prevent homelessness. PERU is dedicated to partnering with key organisations in the sector to produce cutting-edge research with a real impact in the real world.

In 2018, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) commissioned PERU to investigate rising rates of homelessness occurring after the end of private rented sector tenancies, resulting in a published report and a series of events and campaigns highlighting the findings. The research highlighted the struggle of those experiencing homelessness as a result of changes to Local Housing Allowance rates, prompting increased attention on this issue from the research community and influential advice and advocacy groups

In 2020, PERU and MMU’s Department of Social Care and Social Work worked with the Department for Education to evaluate the effectiveness of the ‘Staying Close’ pilot intervention, part of the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme (CSCIP). Staying Close is intended to prevent homelessness amongst young people leaving residential care. PERU produced actionable analyses of outcomes for young care leavers who participated in five of the pilots. The recently published MacAlister Review demonstrates the impact of these evaluations, with the final report making several proposals supported by PERU evaluations. 

In 2022, PERU continued to build on research in this area by partnering with colleagues in the Manchester School of Architecture to investigate older people’s housing choices and options, and explore how to address barriers to older people’s housing moves. 

Policy failure or f***up: homelessness and welfare reform in England

Homelessness and welfare reform in England

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Staying Close Evaluation

Publication Date: Monday 02 November 2020

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Homelessness and the Private Rented Sector

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The role of stable accommodation in reducing recidivism: what does the evidence tell us?

Co-creation and strength-based working as characteristics of social innovation bonds.

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