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This module has been devised by Northumbria University in association with Newcastle City Council. It provides those working in the area of homelessness, or with an interest in the topic, with contextual knowledge and analysis of history, theories, policy and practice in this area. 

Students consider different factors that have been argued to be causes of homelessness and the evidence that is available to support these ideas. They then discuss how these different theories have influenced policies, with particular reference to the 1977 Housing (Homeless Persons) Act and other more recent developments such as the 2017 Homelessness Reduction Act. There will be substantial consideration of current practice issues, arising both from central government policy and the measures that are put in place to prevent and tackle homelessness at a local level.

The module is available to study by attendance at Northumbria University for one afternoon per week or through distance learning.  For those who attend, teaching is in the form of three hour, interactive workshops.  These will involve formal input from the lecturer and discussion and application of the ideas by the students.  For those who study via distance learning, formal input will be in the form of lecturer produced handouts, reading exercises relating to public documents/academic journal articles and PowerPoint presentations delivered online.  Students will join in with discussion boards and other interactive forums to share opinions and thoughts on the material presented.  In either case, students will be encouraged to consider the relationship between theory/policy and the everyday experience of working with homeless people.  Assessment will involve students writing two reports on the relationships between research, theory, policy and practice.

Course Information

Award Type 30 Credits

Delivery Method Bespoke

Mode of Study
Part Time or Distance Learning

Part Time - Northumbria University, City Campus East / Distance - Online

Start September 2019

Health, Sport and Social Care


In addition to the opportunities that are provided for discussion (either face to face or online) between the module tutor and the student group, all students will be encouraged to communicate regularly with the module tutor through face to face meetings (where feasible), telephone conversations and email.  You will be constantly encouraged to identify the links between the material that is presented and your own experience of homelessness.

If you have any further or specific learning needs then do discuss this with the module leader at the start of the semester. You will also be able to access a range of academic support (including academic skills around reading, writing, research, literature reviews, referencing, etc) and pastoral support (including, health and wellbeing support and guidance) from our award winning student services and library teams. This support is available both face to face and online.

In addition, if you have moved to the UK to study from overseas then additional support will be provided for international students with a focus on helping you settle in to the university and the city, understanding culture traditions in the UK and explore academic expectations. Additional English language support can be accessed should you need further support.


Dr Darryl Humble

Currently Darryl is the Programme Leader for the BSc (Hons) Sociology and the PG Cert Social Research and Analysis for Organisations. He contributes to postgraduate and undergraduate teaching across the department in applied research methods, sociology and international development as well as developing overseas study visits, bespoke research training and CPD programmes for public, community and voluntary sector organisations. 

Darryl has taught social sciences in the UK’s Higher and Further Education sectors since 2004 and in 2016 became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Darryl’s approach to research and engagement work is underpinned by a commitment to working in partnership with organisations and individuals seeking to bring about positive social change. Darryl’s current research interests are based on three key themes:

• Exploring and understanding notions of change and work in a civil society context. 

• Constructing encounters with development. 

• Rethinking the value and consequences of qualitative research methods. 

Dr Jamie Harding

After Jamie graduated he undertook a number of jobs in the area of public sector housing: he was a housing needs assistant with Newcastle City Council, a housing officer with a housing association and a housing initiative co-ordinator, negotiating for suitable housing for Bosnian refugees arriving in the North East of England.  His experience in this area convinced him of the need for further research into housing issues so he successfully applied for a job at Northumbria in 1995, initially teaching professional housing courses and undertaking related research.

On completing his PhD and publishing the findings as a monograph, Jamie transferred to the then Division of Sociology and Criminology in 2004, continuing to teach and research in the area of homelessness and pursuing further interests in the areas of research methods and criminal justice.  Working with colleagues, he has undertaken large numbers of contract research projects addressing specific social problems within the North East.

Jamie is programme leader for the Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice and has co-edited a textbook on the Criminal Justice System.

The majority of Jamie’s teaching is in the area of research methods, where he has taught both quantitative and qualitative approaches.  In recent years he has concentrated on qualitative methodology, an area where he has published a textbook and is seeking to use a wide range of methods such as online focus groups.

Jamie’s contract research has concentrated on the area of homelessness, where he works with a number of local partners, some of who provide placements for students.  He has twice taken the role of independent expert at Eurocities reviews of Newcastle City Council’s homelessness services and was part of a European research project examining responses to homelessness in Newcastle, Hamburg, Malmo and Bologna.

Most recently Jamie has undertaken contract research in the area of criminal justice, including one project examining the housing situation of people leaving prison.  He is currently co-editing a book about the criminal justice system in England and Wales.


Areas covered by the module include:

• Causes of homelessness locally, nationally and internationally

• Central government response: the history of law and policy

• Local government response to homelessness

• Temporary accommodation, supported accommodation and houses in multiple occupation

• The role of agencies and co-ordination of services

• Rough sleeping and multiple exclusion homelessness

• Housing First

• Preventing homelessness

• Evidence and homelessness: from understanding causes to evaluating services






The module is available to study by attendance at Northumbria University for one afternoon per week or through distance learning.


Please register your interest for this course and we will be in touch once we have confirmed dates.

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