Skip to main content

Hidden Homelessness in the Context of Contemporary Homelessness Law and Policy

Blizard, Jodi (2022) Hidden Homelessness in the Context of Contemporary Homelessness Law and Policy. Master of Law by Research (LLMRes) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.99126) (KAR id:99126)

Language: English

Click to download this file (778kB) Preview
[thumbnail of 87Hidden_Homelessness_in_the_Context_of_Contemporary_Homelessness_Law_and_Policy.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL:


This research investigates the ways in which the concept of hidden homelessness is used in the context of contemporary homelessness law and policy. The concept is commonly understood as sofa surfers (a term used to describe individuals who temporarily stay with family and friends because they are homeless) who are missing from sight, support and statistics. The contextual legislation is the Housing Act 1996, Part VII and the Homelessness (Priority Need for Accommodation) (England) Order 2002.

To examine the concept, I analyse legislation and case law in the context of theoretical case studies, national understandings (primarily represented by charitable organisations) and scholarly understandings on hidden homelessness. The last chapter evaluates Canterbury City Council's Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018-2023 and semi-structured interviews which I conducted with local homeless charities for the purpose of this research; this forms a comparative analysis to national understandings. Reeve and Batty's (2011) finding that hidden homelessness is conceptualised as visibility or exclusion is used to navigate understandings in chapters two to four. I consider the impact that this has on how hidden homelessness is understood, for example conceptualisations of visibility focus on sofa surfing. The thesis also develops Pleace and Hermans' argument that the concept of hidden homelessness should be made redundant (Pleace and Hermans 2020, 52); it is argued that the concept is inconsistent and further obscures understandings of the housing problem. In addition to this, conceptualisations do not effectively relate to a problematic area of the law which already accepts that sofa surfing can be legally defined as homeless. The conclusion recommends that defining homelessness as statutory and non-statutory is a more constructive approach because it highlights the parts of legislation which exclude applicants from the main housing duty.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Law by Research (LLMRes))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.99126
Uncontrolled keywords: Homelessness Hidden Visibility Exclusion Vulnerability Legislation
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2022 17:10 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2022 12:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.