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Palgrave Macmillan

Post-War Homelessness Policy in the UK

Making and Implementation

  • Book
  • © 2020


  • Explores policy on homelessness since 1945
  • Identifies five factors that explain key policy developments
  • Draws on the experience of key figures in homelessness policy over the past 50 years

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Table of contents (8 chapters)


About this book

This book discusses homelessness policy in the UK from 1945 to 2019.  It identifies five key factors that have driven policy: the favoured explanations for homelessness, distinctions between different groups of homeless people, demand for social rented housing, geographical differences and the forms of prevention preferred by policy makers.  The account analyses how these factors have influenced key pieces of legislation such as the 1948 National Assistance Act, the 1977 Housing (Homeless Persons) Act and the 2002 Homelessness Act.  It also identifies the key issues that policy has sought to address at different times, including children being taken into care because of their parents’ homelessness, rough sleeping, the use of bed and breakfast hotels as temporary accommodation, social exclusion and welfare reform.  In addition to published sources and archival material, the book draws on the experiences of two former Ministers and other key figures in the developmentof homelessness policy.


“This thoroughly researched volume provides a detailed description of policy evolution over this long period whilst tentatively outlining a five-part explanatory framework. Jamie Harding’s career in housing and homelessness policy, incorporating practice and academia, informs a wide-ranging and accessible book. … The book fills a key gap in charting the history of homelessness policy in the UK and, in so doing, offers a valuable point of reference for students and scholars working in this area.” (Kit Colliver, Housing Studies, Vol. 37 (9), 2023)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

    Jamie Harding

About the author

Jamie Harding is Senior Lecturer in Research Methods at Northumbria University, UK. He worked previously in social housing and has published articles on the subject of homelessness in a range of journals, including Housing StudiesLocal Government StudiesSocial Problems and Social Policy, and Probation Journal.

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