Clarifying homelessness internationally



Research which involved Heriot-Watt will help to address the issue of Homelessness worldwide by creating a clear and standardised definition of the term.

We need a set of understandings and concepts that make sense across the world.
Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick

Under the leadership of The Institute of Global Homelessness the research team developed categories to help policymakers, practitioners and researchers more accurately identify and measure this vulnerable population, using definitions that work across international borders. 

The document, 'A Global Framework for Understanding and Measuring Homelessness,' offers clear language to describe and assess homelessness and to define the circumstances people face when they lack minimally adequate housing. 

Shared language

It aims to address the international problem that without shared language, one country might count every possible form of homelessness, while another might only count those sleeping on the street.

Thought leaders in nearly 30 countries across six continents helped to develop, test and improve the framework. Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Professor of Housing and Social Policy at Heriot-Watt, was among the lead authors. ”We have big ambitions at the Institute of Global Homelessness. We want to do something about homelessness across the world, and therefore we need a set of understandings and concepts that make sense across the world.”