Reimagine: Ending homelessness

Episode Six with Sara Emerson, Elisabeth Garratt and John Bird

Reimagine Podcast 6

“I’m here to prevent the next generation of Big Issue vendors.”

It’s estimated that 2% of the world’s population are homeless. But many more – perhaps 1 in 5 people worldwide – may lack adequate and secure housing. In this episode of Reimagine we focus on the situation in the UK, where an unprecedented number of people are without a home or living on the streets. That number has doubled since 2010 and continues to rise.

Homelessness is an example of a wicked problem – a complex, messy problem with many causes and no easy solution. Such wicked problems are rooted in broken systems. What will it take to shift the status quo on homelessness? We start with a report from the front line of care for homeless people during the pandemic, recorded for us by Sara Emerson of Brighton charity Justlife. The lockdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic has had the short-term benefit of getting people off the streets and into temporary housing. But that’s an emergency measure, not a solution.

Peter Drobac digs into the roots of homelessness with Dr Elisabeth Garratt from the Sheffield Methods Institute, who leads a research project exploring people’s experiences of homelessness in Oxford. And he talks to the founder of the Big Issue, Lord John Bird, about possible solutions, and how his own lived experience of homelessness helped him to redefine how we think about the problem.

Reimagine is a podcast about people who are inventing the future. Presented by Oxford Answers and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. New episodes on Thursdays.

Producer/editor – Eve Streeter