Monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on people experiencing homelessness

Groundswell are undertaking research to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the lives of people experiencing homelessness. The project aims to understand how COVID-19 and the response to it is affecting the lives of people who are homeless and include the voices of people experiencing homelessness in the national and local decision-making processes.

Graphic portraying the coronavirus
Graphic showing someone in a sleeping bag
Graphic demonstrating someone coughing into a tissue
Graphic showing someone in a bed
Graphic showing handling medication

COVID-19 and the measures taken in response to the virus are likely to have significant effect on the lives of people who are experiencing homelessness. Responses to COVID-19 for people experiencing homelessness are rapidly moving and vary based on location, commissioning and service providers. Working with Kings College London and our #HealthNow partners we are tracking these changes and engaging people who are affected by them to understand their impact. The research process is led by a reference group of people who have experienced homelessness themselves.

The project aims:

  1. to document the actions taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak with a focus on people experiencing homelessness
  2. to capture the experiences, concerns and feedback of people experiencing homelessness who have been affected as a result of COVID-19 response with a particular focus on health and human rights
  3. to provide feedback from people experiencing homelessness that can inform the decision-making process for statutory and third-sector decision makers.
  4. to provide advice and guidance on how people experiencing can survive and cope with measures.

Fortnightly briefings will build a rapid evidence base for understanding the key issues people experiencing homelessness face during the COVID-19 pandemic. The insights from this project will also inform a series of ‘client-facing’ material aimed at practically supporting people based on what we are hearing from the ground. See our COVID-19 advice and guidance for people who are homeless here.

The project has developed in a responsive and iterative fashion and we are seeking funding to expand the reach of the project to more localities and through employing new methods of data capture.

Download our first briefing here: 20.04.2020

Picture of first page of the first monitoring briefing

Download our second briefing here: 04.05.2020

Picture of first page of the second monitoring briefing

Download our third briefing here: 18.05.2020

Front cover of the 3rd monitoring briefing

The insight is gathered through a range of data collection methods. These include:

  1. Reports from existing network of staff and peer volunteers, through daily diaries logging the key issues people are facing.
  2. Archiving secondary information which chronologically illustrates local, national and policy responses to COVID-19 and homelessness.
  3. Informal telephone interviews with people experiencing homelessness.
  4. Follow-up in-depth telephone interviews to gather narratives.

Over the coming weeks, we will be expanding the reach of our telephone interviews with people experiencing homelessness to better understand experiences. Our reference group made up of people from across the UK, will be working together to support the development of our future briefings and action updates.

If you want to find out more or get involved in our project, contact our Research Manager Jo:

If you want regular updates about this project and other related work, please subscribe to our #HealthNow newsletter here.