Everyone In and migrants’ experiences of homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic

Simon Stewart, Hayley Peacock, Charlotte Sanders, Roberta Piazza

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

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This research report describes findings from our 18-month ESRC/UKRI-funded study, facilitated by St Mungo’s. The research, entitled Homelessness during COVID-19: Homeless Migrants in a Global Crisis, took a biographical life story approach to understand the experiences of 43 non-UK nationals who experienced homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to gain insight into the homelessness sector, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 37 people across nine homelessness organisations. Our report demonstrates that Everyone In, launched by the UK Government in 2020, was life changing for many migrants experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. In suspending eligibility criteria relating to immigration policies that blocked migrants from accessing statutory support, the initiative required local authorities in England to house all individuals regardless of their immigration status. We highlight how the Everyone In initiative provided a moment of visibility for migrants experiencing homelessness. Prior to the crisis, their homelessness was likely to have been ‘hidden’, and we draw attention to a habitual practice that we call cultivated invisibility which refers to how migrants respond to being read as 'Other' in racialised and classed terms, and find ways to go unnoticed. This practice increases migrants’ vulnerability and renders them more vulnerable to destitution and danger of becoming subject to hostile environment policies and measures. In the report, we draw attention to examples of good practice that we identified in the course of our research on the response to the pandemic in the homelessness sector. However, we also highlight some of the shortcomings of the Everyone In Initiative, many of which are indicative of deeper-rooted problems that pre-date the pandemic. In doing so, we draw attention to measures that could be taken to improve the situation for migrants experiencing homelessness in times of crises and also during ‘normal times’. In the latter part of the report, we proceed to put forward the recommendations that derive from this research.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Portsmouth
Number of pages65
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • UKRI
  • ESRC
  • ES/V011081/1

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