Big Picture

A Novel approach; Download PDF for poster
Homeless hostels have undergone significant change in the last decade, with capital investment and an increasing integration with a range of support services. But what can a psychological perspective add to our understanding of the ways hostels can impact on the lives of those who reside there?
The social psychological contribution to the theorising of homelessness has tended to reflect detrimental aspects of the experience. It has, for instance, sought to explain how experienced homeless people may entice a new hostel resident toward ‘entrenched’ homelessness and deeper forms of exclusion, such as street begging and criminal activity. But research conducted by Gareth Morris, Philip Brown, Lisa Scullion (University of Salford) and Peter Somerville (University of Lincoln) has uncovered evidence of the positive impact of new social networks formed in hostels.
The research team aimed to engage a wider audience in their research and produced a graphic novel of their findings. The book Somewhere Nowhere: Lives Without Homes was illustrated by Sam Dahl, a master’s graduate at the University of Salford, and the pages here reveal a sample from Becka’s life story. For Becka, first made homeless by a step-parent on her 16th birthday, the hostel and the social networks she forged within it were a step toward a sustainable, independent life.
Gareth Morris tells us: ‘We’ve received positive feedback from people in the homelessness sector who have supplemented funding bids with copies of the book, and from lecturers who plan to use it as a teaching resource. We hope it will not only inform and educate readers of the events that lead people toward homeless episodes in their lives, but also add to discussions among academics about how they can achieve impact with their research using creative methods.’

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