Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health
The Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health (CHIH) is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and local partners in Scotland to improve the health and wellbeing of people who experience homelessness.
This collaboration is an exciting initiative to bring together people with lived experience of homelessness, those working in the NHS, third sector, policy, local government and academia to work together to develop learning, teaching and research to improve the health and wellbeing of people who experience the worst health outcomes in society. The Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health (The Centre) was established in 2017 and since then, we have built up strong partnerships working across a range of different homelessness organisation in the city. We have increased our understanding of different perspectives - including those of people with lived experience of homelessness - and developed a clear vision of how we can work together to make a difference.
Our Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health contributes to our Strategy 2030 to ensure that our civic and social responsibilities are at the heart of our university. By engaging with the local community, we have brought together the social, economic and political resources of the University of Edinburgh with partners across the city to create a unique and dynamic centre for community engagement, learning and research.
The health and wellbeing of people experiencing homelessness is at the heart of our centre, which means that existing health care staff are being supported to develop new learning opportunities in the field of homelessness and health. Experts by experience are helping with teaching and learning, and are directly involved in shaping and doing research. University of Edinburgh students and staff have increasing opportunities to undertake learning placements in organisations that work with people who are experiencing homelessness and research ideas are being co-produced by academic staff, people with lived experience of homelessness and a wide range of health, social care and third sector colleagues. All of this work aims to improve the health and wellbeing for the most marginalised in Edinburgh and wider society.
In addition to our work locally, existing partnerships are being strengthened in the UK and internationally with leading research colleagues in the field of homelessness. Our first International Research Symposium was led by Dr Juliet Watson from RMIT, Melbourne, Australia in 2018 and since then, a range of different collaborative events have enabled us to develop international and national links with policy, research and practice organisations to draw on best practice to promote knowledge exchange and shared learning.
Theory of Change
Our Centre has developed in an organic way and we came together in August 2018 to develop a Theory of Change. This was generously funded by the Carnegie UK Trust and through this process, we have been able to clarify our aims, refine our vision and align the ‘hopes and wants’ of all of those involved in our collaboration into a coherent plan and direction. Ewan Aitken, CEO of the Cyrenians has written a fantastic blog to describe our progress to date and our Theory of Change is now available to download as a PDF below.
Learning and Teaching