Listen Up! Insights

Welcome to a series of Insights from Listen Up! 

Our lived experience-led project seeks to tackle homeless health inequalities by amplifying the voices of people experiencing homelessness. We interview people across England to generate rapid insights into topics of interest related to health and homelessness. Each of our themed Insights is accompanied by a webinar where we present our findings and co-design a list of recommended actions.

Reminder: you can read our community reporter stories on the Listen Up! hub.

Listen Up! Insight 4: The cost of living crisis (May 2024)

This insight looks at the cost of living. It draws on interviews with 33 people experiencing homelessness and a selection of stories from 6 community reporters. Our recommended actions for change were coproduced at a webinar attended by 39 people with professional and/or personal experience of the issues. 

The rising costs of necessities has led to many people being financially stretched. We looked at the experiences and attitudes of those experiencing homelessness in relation to the cost of living. We heard about the ‘ongoing cost of living’ for people experiencing homelessness – managing money for essentials wasn’t something new.

As result of this, reliance on voluntary services has persisted, which buffered the immediate impact of price rises for some. However, for many, the prospect of securing stable and affordable housing and managing the rising cost of utilities induced anxiety and moving away from homelessness felt further out of reach. We also heard about how rising costs had a direct impact on health, exacerbating both physical and mental health conditions. Often fuelled by media narratives, this led to feelings of anger and despondence towards the burden of the cost of living, prompting some to disengage from news for the sake of their wellbeing. 

Listen Up! Insight 3: Digital Inclusion and Exclusion (February 2024)

This Insight looks at digital inclusion and exclusion. It draws on interviews with 34 people experiencing homelessness and a selection of stories from 6 community reporters. Our recommended actions for change were coproduced at a webinar attended by 52 people with professional and/or personal experience of the issues.

As society increasingly moves online, those already excluded are being left further behind. We heard how homelessness limited access to digital essentials and why day centres were a digital lifeline, providing these essentials alongside specialist support needed to build skills, trust and confidence. Communicating digitally with health services helped overcome certain barriers, like having no fixed address, but for many, it was a source of significant frustration and cut off support. We should take advantage of the benefits of multiple channels of communication provided by digital and offer flexibility, choice and control to people with experience of homelessness.

Watch webinar

Listen Up! has released its fourth Insight webinar which was held in April 2024.  Watch the action to insight webinar on the cost of living crisis and share it. 

Watch webinar

Listen Up! has released its third Insight webinar which was held in February 2024. Watch the action to insight (parts 1 and 2) on digital inclusion and inclusion: part 1 and part 2, and share the link.

Listen Up! Insight 2: Drug and Alcohol
Dependency and Recovery (May 2023)

In this Insight we look at drug and alcohol dependency, drawing on research interviews with 75 men and women experiencing a range of situations including rough sleeping and staying in temporary accommodation and hostels. 26 of them reported current or past experience of drug and/or alcohol dependency. Interviews have been analysed alongside community reporters’ stories, which provide additional rich perspectives.

We heard about the complex connections between recovery from drugs and alcohol dependency and recovery from homelessness, mental health and trauma. Drug and alcohol dependency often had long lasting impacts on physical and mental health for people with experience of homelessness. Stigma, lack of home and significant barriers to seeking help for drug and alcohol dependency hindered recovery. Conversely, a sense of home, supportive relationships and feelings of hope played a positive role in people’s recovery journeys.

Listen Up! Insight 1: Mental Health (October 2022)

This Insight draws on nationwide research interviews with 44 people experiencing homelessness and a selection of stories from our 14 community reporters, who have lived experience of homelessness. We have included extracts from reporter stories and quotes from participant interviews to illustrate our key findings.

The Insight shows that mental health and homelessness are complexly linked. It identifies barriers to accessing mental health support and shows how poor mental health can also impair access to safe housing. We also share ideas for promoting good mental health and what helps people experiencing homelessness in accessing mental health support

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Watch webinar

Listen up! has released their second insight webinar which was held in March 2023. Watch the action to insight webinar on drug and alcohol dependency and recovery, and share the link.

Watch webinar

Listen up! have released part 1 of their insight webinar on mental health which was held in November 2022. Watch the action to insight webinar, part one.