17th European Research Conference on Homelessness

Leuven, September 14th and 15th, 2023

VENUE: Maria-Theresiacollege, Sint-michielsstraat 6, 3000 Leuven

Thank you for participating in the 17th European Research Conference on Homelessness!

To further support our commitment to knowledge sharing, we're pleased to announce that the posters and PowerPoint presentations from the various seminars are now available for download. Simply click the link corresponding to each session's name below to access the materials.

Once again, thank you for being a part of this vital conversation, and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Download the programme:

Chairs of the sessions

Keynote speakers

Juha Kaakinen, Finland, is an experienced and passionate developer of innovative housing solutions to homeless people and social housing. After 9 years as the CEO  of Y-Foundation, Juha Kaakinen retired last year. Before, he worked in public administration of the City of Helsinki and as the CEO of Social Development Ltd, a company devoted to developing social and health services for cities and municipalities. He has also worked as a programme leader of a national programme to end long-term homelessness, and as a researcher and a consultant. He is internationally known as an advocate of Housing First policy. He is a Master of Arts from the University of Helsinki.

Starting from 1.4.2023, Juha Kaakinen has been invited as a Professor of Practice in the faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Tampere. Download the presentation here.

Koen Hermans, Belgium is Associate Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at the Centre for    Sociological Research, KU Leuven. He is also project leader at LUCAS, Centre for Care Research and  Consultancy. His research focuses on the care and support for vulnerable and underserved populations in society, such as homeless persons, persons with disability and youngsters with complex needs. He was the coordinator of the COST Action on ‘Measuring homelessness in Europe’ (2016-2020). In Belgium, he is responsible for the development and organization of local and regional homelessness counts. Download the presentation here.

Magdalena Mostowska, Poland is a sociologist, lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies at the University of Warsaw. She has completed several research projects on migrants, as well as women homelessness in Poland, the EU and the US. She is co-chair of the European Network for Housing Research Working Group on Welfare Policy, Homelessness and Social Exclusion (WELPHASE). Download the presentation here.

Michelle Norris, Ireland is Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Geary Institute for Public Policy at University College Dublin, Ireland. Her teaching and research interests focus on housing policy and urban regeneration, particularly on the provision management, financing of social housing in Europe and the regeneration of social housing estates and inner urban areas. She has strong links with policy makers in Ireland and internationally. Having served as a board member of various Irish government agencies working on provision of affordable housing for over 10 years, in 2021 she was appointed by the Minister for Housing to the commission set up to examine the long-term future of housing in Ireland. She was awarded the Irish Research Council's research impact award in 2021. Download the presentation here.

Field visit in Leuven – 14th September, 9:00 - 12:00 

A-B: CAW: Woonanker/Preventive housing guidance - Brughuis

C-D: Housing First 10x1/Housing First Belgium - Mind the Gap Leuven


Download the presentations by clicking on the links for each session (name of session)

Plenary Session I (Room: AULA)

Chair: Volker Busch-Geertsema, DE

Koen Hermans, BE: Homelessness in Belgium: figures, profiles, dynamics and lived experience

Michelle Norris, IE: Tools to Tame Financialisation of Housing


Seminar Session 1

Seminar 1: Youth Prevention I

Chair and discussant: Nicholas Pleace, UK

Evelien Demaerschalk, BE: Upstream Flanders

Amanda Buchnea, CA: Upstream Canada and the Upstream International Living Lab

Seminar 2: Criminalisation of Homelessness

Chair: Masa Filipovic-Hrast, SI

Stef Adriaenssens, Teodora Soare, BE: Cleaning up the Streets? Effects of the Criminalization of Begging with Children

Pia Justesen, Nóra Teller, DK/HU: Fact-Fiction: The States' Hypocritical Conception of Prevention of Homelessness through Criminalisation in Denmark and Hungary

Seminar 3: Housing First and Institutional Transitions

Chair: Volker Busch-Geertsema, DE

Ronni Greenwood, Rob Lowth, Antonia Bura, IE: Innovations in Implementation: Interagency Coordination of Housing, Health, and Case Management Services in Ireland’s National Housing First Programme 

Cecilia Heule, Marcus Knutagård, Arne Kristiansen, SE: RECO: Resilient Communities by Sustainable Welfare Transformation

Seminar 4: Monitoring Tools

Chair: Freek Spinnewijn, BE

Gloria Puchol, Manuel Rodilla, Mercedes Botija Yagüe, ES: Operationalizing ETHOS for the Monitoring and Evaluation of Homeless Response Programs: The LongHome Tool

Clíodhna Bairéad, IE: Single Adults Transitions Into, Through and Out of Emergency Accommodation in the Dublin Region

Seminar 5: Client Preferences and Service Co-creation

Chair: Mike Allen, IE

John Cowman, IE: The Differences between Inpatient and Staff Housing and Support Preferences, for Individuals with Housing Need on an Irish Acute Mental Health Unit

Lucia Fiorillo, Livia Sassoli, Caterina Cortese, IT: Giving People a Voice: Involving Beneficiaries in the Design of Support Services

Seminar 6: Measurement of Homelessness

Chair: Lars Benjaminsen, DK

Hermund Urstad and Liv Halseth, NO: New Data Collection Methods in Norway

Nana Mertens, Evelien Demaerschalk, BE: Point-in-Time Homelessness Counts in Belgium


Seminar Session 2


Seminar 7: Youth Prevention II

Chair and discussant: Nóra Teller, HU

Melanie Redman, CA: Using Social Innovation as a Means of Advancing Knowledge and Practice Regarding Youth Homelessness Prevention

Steve Gaetz, CA: The Emerging Impact of Housing First for Youth in Canada and Europe

Seminar 8: Homelessness and Displacement

Chair: Mike Allen, IE

Veera Niemi, FI: A state-led Displacement Process Revealing Secrets of Successful Rehousing after Homelessness – but too Late

Eva Swyngedouw, BE: Forced Nomadism. The Consequences of Evictions for the Housing Precariat in Brussels

Seminar 9: Housing First and Housing Transitions

Chair: Volker Busch-Geertsema, DE

Sarah Sheridan, IE: Evaluation of Focus Ireland Shielding Service

Riikka Perälä, FI: Housing First in Vulnerable People’s Housing Pathways: An Example of Finnish Housing First Policy

Seminar 10: Youth Homelessness

Chair: Eoin O’Sullivan, IE

Bill Rowlands, UK: ‘Impossible to Navigate’ – Exploring Youth Homelessness through the Lens of Neurodiversity

Paula Mayock, IE: Cycling the Service System: Young People’s Paths Through and Out of Homelessness

Seminar 11: Data on Rough Sleepers

Chair: Lars Benjaminsen, DK

Ashwin Parulkar, Daniel C. Farrell, USA: Causes of Homelessness among the Unsheltered Population in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA)

Ferran Busquets, ES: Living on the Streets in Barcelona. Analysis of a Homeless City

Seminar 12: Structural Barriers to Tackling Homelessness

Chair: Masa Filipovic-Hrast, SI

Miroslava Hlinčíková, SK: Who Deserves What? The Struggles between the Rhetoric of Housing as a Right and Housing as a Merit in the Context of Housing Policy in Slovakia

Timo Weishaupt, Christian Hinrichs and Jan Weckwerth, DE: Theorising homelessness: An urban sociological perspective on the interplay of individual, institutional and structural contexts


Seminar Session 3


Seminar 13: Impact of Data on Policy Design I

Chairs: Matthias Drilling, Zsolt Temesvary, Jörg Dittmann, CH

Jan de Vries, NL: Impact on policy: advocacy by organisations representing the interests of people experiencing homelessness

Dennis Culhane, USA: Sustaining Commitments to Innovation and Implementation

Response by Freek Spinnewijn, BE

Seminar 14: The Policy Context of Housing First

Chair: Volker Busch-Geertsema, DE

Elisabetta Leni, FI: Homelessness Deinstitutionalization Policy in Finland: Housing First and Perspectives from the Ground

Maarten Davelaar and Dorieke Wewerinke, NL: The Final Breakthrough? Experimenting with Housing First as System Approach in the Netherlands

Seminar 15: Service Components of Housing First 

Chair: Mike Allen, IE

Sara Lannin, Ivana Keenan, John Coonan, Cimara Witte, Elizabeth Peña, Gráinne Johnston, IE: Housing First and Peer Support Specialists: An Insight into Organisational Toolkit Development

Krista Kosonen, FI: Housing First, but What Next? How about Work?

Seminar 16: Measuring Perceptions

Chair: Eoin O’Sullivan, IE

Hiroshi Goto, Soshiro Yamada, Yusuke Kakita, Kanako Nakano, Dennis Culhane, JP: Japanese Public Perceptions of Homelessness

Tom George and Jim Rogers, UK: Perceptions of Participants and Stakeholders of a ‘Sleep Out' Event Held to Raise Money for, and Awareness, of Homelessness Charity Work

Seminar 17: Homeless Women

Chair: Nóra Teller, HU

Boróka Fehér and Lea Lengyel, HU: Second Generation Homelessness - Stories of Homeless Women and their Families

Josepha Moriau, Noémie Emmanuel, Martin Wagener, BE: Trajectories of Homeless Women in Relation through a Gender Perspective on Social Work

Seminar 18: Health and Homelessness 

Chair: Masa Filipovic-Hrast, SI

Tobias Schiffler, Alejandro Gil-Salmerón, Ascensión Doñate-Martínez, Tamara Alhambra-Borrás, Miguel Rico Varadé, Jaime Barrio Cortes, Matina Kouvari, Pania Karnaki, Maria Moudatsou, Ioanna Tabaki, Igor Grabovac, ES/AT/GR/UK: Improving Cancer Prevention and Early Detection among People Experiencing Homelessness in Europe: Co-designing the Health Navigator Model

Renate Karpenko, DE: The Medical Care of Homeless Women: What Factors Contribute to Longer Hospital Stays?


Seminar Session 4


Seminar 19: Impact of Data on Policy Design II

Chairs: Matthias Drilling, Zsolt Temesvary, Jörg Dittmann, CH

Koen Hermans, Nana Mertens, BE: Impact Evaluation of the First Regional Point in Time Homelessness Counts in Belgium

Rob Anderson, UK: A Framework for Ending Rough Sleeping in England

Reactions by Nicholas Pleace, UK

Seminar 20: Housing First in Cities

Chair: Mike Allen, IE

Lisete Cordeiro and Sílvia Almeida, PT: The Impact of Housing First in a Small City in Portugal

Nadyah Abdel Salam, FR: Housing First, an Institutional Innovation by Withdrawal

Seminar 21: Migration and Homelessness

Chair: Lars Benjaminsen, DK

Dion Kramer, NL: Homelessness and EU Citizenship in a Borderless Europe 

Sophie Samyn, BE: Wandering the city: Local Practices of Bordering and Sanctuary with Homeless Migrants

Seminar 22: Pooling of Data on Homelessness

Chair: Nóra Teller, HU

Amandine Lebugle and Alice Mercier, FR: The French Homeless Helpline the day after the Night of Solidarity in Paris (France)

Natasa Krivokapic, Goran Ceranic, Rade Sarovic, Predrag Zivkovic, Milica Rajkovic, Montenegro: Recognising Homelessness in Montenegro

Seminar 23: Barriers to Services for the Homeless

Chair: Kjell Larsson, SE

Tove Samzelius, SE: Precarity and Vulnerability among Homeless Single-Parent Families in Sweden: A Critical Perspective on Policy and Practice

Laure-lise Robben, Rik Peeters, Arjan Widlak, & Koen Hermans, BE/NL: Burdens on the Gateway to the State: The Construction of Administrative Burdens in the Registration of People Experiencing Homelessness in Belgium and the Netherlands

Seminar 24: Creating Transition Options

Chair: Eoin O’Sullivan, IE

Naomi Thulien, CA: Impact of Portable Rent Subsidies and Mentorship on Socioeconomic Inclusion for Youth Exiting Homelessness in Canada: A Mixed Method Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial

Erin Dej, Carrie Sanders, CA: Mid-size cities, NIMBYism, and the Search for Solutions to Homelessness in Canada


Plenary Session II (Room: AULA)

Chair: Volker Busch-Geertsema, DE

Magdalena Mostowska, PL: Homelessness and Migration: Parallels of Research, Political Discourses and Individual Experiences

Juha Kaakinen, FI: Home: Uncomfortable Questions and Some Answers


Poster Presentations

Klara Lehner, AT: Women, Homelessness, COVID-19: An Empirical Study on the Situation of Homeless Women in Vienna

Naïké Garny, BE: What Does the Reception of Homeless, Migrant Women Mean from an Intersectional Perspective? The Case of The Sisters’ House

Mattia Mansueto, BE: Housing First for Youth as an Opportunity for Social Justice among Young People

Marie Cecile Kotyk, CA: Seeing in Colour: A Framework to Address Anti-Black Racism in Housing and Homelessness

Shauna Perez, CA: When I Can’t Help, I Suffer: Moral Distress in Service Providers Working with Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

Vera Kovács, Kata Ámon, HU: Supporting Homeless Women in Budapest: State-Funded Services and the Housing First Approach of From Street to Homes Association

Franca Viganò, IT: The Italian Approach to Health and Homelessness. Perspectives on Policies and Services during the Pandemic

Karolina Gajda, PL: The Importance of Place Attachment in (Not) Getting out of Homelessness

Sarah McNeill, UK: Barriers and facilitators to health care access for women experiencing homelessness in Northern Ireland

Verena Löffler, DE: Basic income and homelessness: improving the situation of the least advantaged



Planned Schedule The conference will be held on Thursday and Friday, September 14th - 15th, 2023, starting at 13:00 on Thursday and closing at 20:00 on Friday. Optional field visits will be planned for Thursday morning. The conference dinner will be held on Thursday evening. Please note that the conference may be shifted online should that be required for COVID-related safety arrangements.

Venue and Fees The sessions of the Conference will be held at K.U. Leuven Campus, Leuven, Belgium. The conference fee is 200 EURO (incl. meals and coffee breaks during the conference). Presenters and PhD students pay a reduced fee of 100 EURO. Accommodation package on a first come first served basis will be available upon registration from July 3rd, 2023. A detailed cancellation policy will be announced on the registration page.

Organised and supported by: