Leaving homelessness: a systematic review

Leonie Boland, Anita Slade, Katrina Bannigan

    Research output: Contribution to conference (unpublished)Paperpeer-review


    For individuals with complex needs, the pathway of exiting homelessness can be complicated, prolonged and cyclical. Throughout Europe, countries are developing national strategies to address homelessness. A key feature of these strategies is a ‘housing led’ approach, i.e. the rapid provision of rental accommodation with support, as needed, to ensure the tenancy is sustained (O’Sullivan, 2012). This support needs to be provided in a flexible and integrated way and it’s been recognised as a potential role for occupational therapists (COTEC, 2010). However there is a lack of research on how occupational therapy can best support a person’s transition from homelessness.
    This systematic review aimed to explore the current knowledge about the phenomenon of individuals leaving homelessness (PROSPERO registration: CRD42015019361). A comprehensive search, with no date restriction, sought both published and unpublished literature. All study designs of interventions that supported individuals to leave homelessness and sustain a tenancy were included; studies that focussed on homeless families were excluded. Two independent reviewers assessed the quality of the included studies.
    A narrative synthesis was used to summarise the knowledge as the range and quality of the included studies was diverse. The findings conceptualise the factors, at an individual and structural level, that influence a person’s tenancy sustainment following homelessness.
    This systematic review provides an understanding of the transition from homelessness to sustaining a tenancy.
    Application to practice:
    This understanding indicates how to best target occupational therapy and so provide an evidence based approach to practice.

    Council of Occupational Therapists for the European Countries (COTEC) (2010) Position Statement on Poverty and Social Exclusion. Available at www.cotec-europe.org (Accessed: 10 October 2015)
    O’Sullivan, E. (2012) Ending Homelessness – A Housing-led Approach. Dublin: Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Housing/FileDownload,32437,en.pdf. (Accessed: 1 June 2015)

    Financial support by the Cathie Mounter Legacy, Plymouth University is gratefully acknowledged.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2016
    EventCOTEC ENOTHE - Galway, Ireland
    Duration: 15 Jun 201616 Jun 2016


    ConferenceCOTEC ENOTHE


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