homeless migrants and covid-19

Homeless Migrants And Covid-19

Mapping the layers of crisis

We’re gathering the stories of migrants experiencing homelessness in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite government efforts to contain the disease by placing rough sleepers in hotels, homeless migrants have been disproportionately impacted by coronavirus due to the challenges they face in accessing welfare support. The pandemic has also left non-UK nationals particularly vulnerable as they work to resolve their immigration status in a time of crisis.

We’re collaborating with the University of Sussex and St Mungo’s to record the biographical narratives of homeless migrants in London, Portsmouth and Brighton; their stories are framed and shaped by the national and global context of COVID-19. We’ll examine the intersection of personal histories, wider social structures and the dynamics of the pandemic itself. Then, we’ll use this biographical data to make recommendations for measures that can support homeless migrants, locally and globally, during times of crisis.

'Homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic: homeless migrants in a global crisis' is a project funded by the ESRC/UKRI in response to COVID-19. 


Visit our blog for updates on the project. 

Project staff

Dr Simon Stewart

Dr Simon Stewart is the project’s Principal Investigator, and is Reader in Sociology and Director of the Centre for European and International Studies Research at University of Portsmouth. Simon's research expertise is primarily in cultural sociology/sociology of culture and, in particular, the evaluative judgements that we make, ethical and aesthetic, individual and collective, in the moment and over time. He brings to the project expertise in the sociology of class, inequality and cultural globalization. He has published widely and has produced two single-authored monographs, Culture and the Middle Classes and A Sociology of Culture, Taste and Value. He was recently part of a YouTrust-funded project on the experiences of foodbank users.  

Professor Sally R Munt

Professor Sally R Munt is Co-Investigator on the project, and is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Politics at the University of Sussex (from December 2020). Sally has previously run research projects investigating refugee identity and experience in Brighton. Sally is also the founder and director of a mental health charity, Brighton Exiled/Refugee Trauma Service, which provides trauma treatment for asylum seekers, refugees, and destitute migrants in Sussex.

Dr Roberta Piazza

Dr Roberta Piazza is Co-Investigator on the project, and is Reader in English Language & Linguistics at the University of Sussex, UK. Her research is in the area of discourse, ethnography and sociolinguistics. Lately she has studied aspects of narrative and identity with regard to mobile and vulnerable individuals with uncanonical relations to place, e.g. Travellers and Gypsies, rough-sleepers and diasporic groups. With charities and local organisations, she is socially active in her community. She has published in international journals and (co)edited several volumes on discursive identity (Marked Identities with A. Fasulo, Palgrave); her recent monograph The Discursive Construction of Identity and Space among Mobile People is published by Bloomsbury.

Dr Hayley Peacock

Dr Hayley Peacock is Project Consultant & Researcher on the project, and holds a PhD in Geography from Queen Mary, University of London. Hayley previously held a position as Senior Research Officer at St Mungo’s, the homelessness charity, where she managed a peer research project examining the relationship between insecure work and homelessness. Part of this research examined the specific challenges that people in insecure housing faced during the COVID-19 lockdown. With extensive experience of research methods, co-design and client involvement, Hayley brings-depth knowledge of peer research and homelessness to the project.

Contact details

For further information about this project, please contact Dr Simon Stewart: simon.stewart@port.ac.uk.