The benefits of the Everyone In initiative and the deeper-rooted problems it revealed for migrants experiencing homelessness

Roberta Piazza, Simon Stewart

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This article addresses the broad research aim of understanding migrants’ experiences of homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic through a novel combination of linguistic and sociological analysis. In our analysis of life story interviews, we find that the UK Government’s Everyone In initiative, which suspended eligibility criteria to provide support and accommodation to those experiencing homelessness or deemed to be at risk of rough sleeping, was hugely beneficial for migrants. This indicates what is possible when there is the political will to end rough sleeping. In its analysis of life stories gathered during the pandemic, the article proceeds to identify deeper-rooted problems relating to the weak and restricted structural position of migrants experiencing homelessness. Having spent time in the UK with an ‘inferior status’, with limited access to work and welfare, economic and social capital, and often with experiences of trauma in the UK and/or in their countries of origin, many of our research participants express a lack of control and a sense of being controlled in their conditions of existence. Further, their isolation and loneliness in the individual rooms provided in the emergency accommodation is indicative of a deeper-rooted sense of isolation deriving from years spent sleeping rough or living in temporary and insecure accommodation. Experiences of isolation and the sense of a lack of control are corrosive to mental health, and during the pandemic, mental health problems were also exacerbated by welfare checks and other rule-based practices that are potentially retraumatising.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108–122
JournalInternational Journal on Homelessness
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2023


  • migrant
  • homelessness
  • Everyone In
  • linguistic analysis
  • sociology
  • control
  • isolation

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