It’s time to put the spotlight on our second School Centre: the Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health! Did you always wonder about the centre’s journey, initiatives and inspiring work? Read this interview with Dr. Fiona Cuthill, the Academic Director for the Centre for Homeless and Inclusion Health, to learn all about it and how you could be involved.
Please describe the journey, mission, and vision of the research centre with which you are affiliated.
Our Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health did not begin as a research centre, but as a space to bring together community partners in the field of homelessness together, including the University of Edinburgh as a community partner in the city. Our aim is to encourage the sharing of ideas and the development of new initiatives. Our Centre is built on strong relationships and shared values. Our vision is of a socially just and inclusive city where everyone can flourish. Our mission is to transform the health and wellbeing of people who experience homelessness. Our work to date has focused on three main areas:
1) city/community partnerships;
2) learning and teaching; and,
Our focus has been primarily on developing strong city/community partnerships and on expanding learning opportunities. Going forward, our Centre is seeking to expand our research portfolio to support the work of the Centre.
We are busy:
- Creating and modelling relationship based practice;
- Investigating and challenging the systematic causes of exclusion;
- Involving people with lived experience of homelessness in all aspects of our work;
- Working with partner organisations to share the wisdom of the ‘front line’ as agents of change;
- Creating opportunities for students, staff and people with lived experience of homelessness to understand each other better [Shared learning. Learning together. Collaboration. Experiential learning];
- Supporting the development of high quality training for students and the workforce;
- Educating the public and facilitating change in public perception of homelessness;
- Speaking truth to power.
What are the research interests of your research group?
We are involved in a range of different research studies that are largely generated with our community partners. Current and recent research studies include:
- 2021 Data Driven Innovation, City Deal (Grant holder: Dr Fiona Cuthill). Implementation and evaluation of Street Support Edinburgh: digital resource for people experiencing homelessness. (Feb – July 2021)
- 2020 ESRC Impact Accelerator Award (Grant holder: Dr Fiona Cuthill). Implementation of Street Support Edinburgh digital resource(match funding from community partner, Simon Community Scotland) (June 2020-January 2021).
- 2020 Cyrenians Scotland and Lankely Chase (Grant holder: Dr Fiona Cuthill). Living with Covid: community level experiences of people experiencing homelessness (March 2020 – ongoing).
- 2020 Cyrenians Scotland. (Grant holder: Dr Larry Doi; Co-I Dr Fiona Cuthill). Evaluation of Pathway hospital intreach for people experiencing homelessnesss (January 2020 -ongoing).
- 2019 Scottish Advice on Alcohol Policy (Grant holder: Dr Fiona Cuthill). Qualitative exploration of harmful alcohol use with migrants in Scotland (September 2019 – June 2020).
- 2018 Greater Glasgow Health Board (Grant holder: Professor Sarah Johnsen, Heriot Watt University, Co-Investigator: Dr Fiona Cuthill). Qualitative Pilot Evaluation of Pharmacist Input into Clinical Care of Homeless People (June – December 2018).
What are the principal values that motivate and maintain the work in your research group?
Our work will be underpinned by values of:
Please mention some of the ideas and research that your research group has initiated, elaborated, and/or published.
Our most exciting current piece of work has been in the development and implementation of Street Support Edinburgh (SSE). Street Support Edinburgh is a web site and app that brings together information on homelessness, housing, emergency food locations and health services in one digital resource. This was developed by Street Support Network, a Manchester based charity that developed this digital resource in 2016 and is now in 22 cities in the UK. This is the first such digital resource for Edinburgh (it has been ‘live’ from end January 2021). Street Support Edinburgh is a network of organisations in the city. Initial funding for the development and implementation was secured from a research grant awarded to researchers in the Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health (CHiH), University of Edinburgh and matched- funding from Simon Community Scotland (Streetwork). We are currently undertaking a 6 month evaluation of Street Support Edinburgh with a grant from Data Driven Innovation (UoE). Following this evaluation, we hope to be involved in the further roll-out across other cities and towns in Scotland.
In addition to the research already mentioned, we also have two PhD students undertaking research around homelessness and health. Their studies are exploring: LGBT and youth experiences of homelessness (Catalina Martin, doctoral student); Using predictive modelling to evaluate the effectiveness of homelessness prevention tools for single adults, particularly those with mental health and substance misuse disorders (Lucie Wollenstein). Dr Steph Grohmann, who is a Leverhume Scholar attached to the Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health. Her three year prestigious fellowship is titled: Ethical Capital: Virtue, Subjectivity and the Changing Face of Welfare. Her study is formulating the first critical anthropological theory of ‘ethical capital’, based on an original ethnographic study of the relationship between providers and recipients of marketised welfare in the UK.
How can we get in touch (Facebook group, website) with this research centre and its work?
We have a website and you can contact Dr Fiona Cuthill for any further information firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be starting our seminar series again after Easter 2021 and so if you would like to be involved in the Centre or join our seminars, then please contact Fiona to be added to our mailing list. There is also a Homeless and Inclusion Health student society at the University of Edinburgh and you can find information about his via Facebook.
Do you have any upcoming events you would like to share with us?
We will post out our upcoming events if you join our mailing list – we very much look forward to welcoming you!!
Did you miss our interview with the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy Centre? Read it here!