Modular Homes as a New Form of Accommodation to Tackle Homelessness: A Case Study From Cambridge, England.

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Ehwi, Richmond Juvenile  ORCID logo
Oti-Sarpong, Kwadwo 
Burgess, Gemma 
Lenhard, Johannes 
Meng, Eana 

In England, provision of temporary accommodation for people experiencing homelessness has often entailed using traditional construction approaches to deliver housing. However, recent experiments are using modular homes to provide temporary accommodation, accompanied by support services for people experiencing homelessness. Given the early nature of these trials, it is unclear what impacts these modular homes have on their occupants and how these projects in turn impact surrounding residents and businesses. We present a case study of the first modular homes for people experiencing homelessness in Cambridge, England, drawing on longitudinal interviews with the six residents occupying these homes. We found that the physical features of the homes, coupled with wrap-around support services, yielded positive short- and mid-term outcomes for occupants, including improved management of their substance use and money, skills development and readiness for employment, social relations, and a burgeoning sense of community, safety, and security. These positive outcomes have spurred wider interest, including the incorporation of modular homes as alternative temporary accommodation in the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy of Cambridge City Council, alongside a growing research interest in modular homes and other new schemes by the national government. We argue for further empirical studies of the impacts of different modular home projects, including those that admit more diverse resident cohorts and offer different accommodation types to establish a clear methodology for future modular homes projects in England and beyond.


Acknowledgements: We acknowledge all the stakeholders who participated in the study and voluntarily shared valuable insights without which our research would not have been possible.

Cambridge, England, Homelessness, Modular housing, Qualitative research, Social work, Temporary accommodation, Wrap-around support services
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Hum Ecol Interdiscip J
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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