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Policy failure or f***up: homelessness and welfare reform in England

O'Leary, Christopher and Simcock, Thomas (2020) Policy failure or f***up: homelessness and welfare reform in England. Housing Studies. ISSN 0267-3037

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Abstract

Since 2009, homelessness has been on the rise, with growing evidence that welfare reforms are a key driver of this increase. However, does this mean that welfare reform has failed? In this paper, we use policy failure as a lens through which to critically examine welfare reform and homelessness in England. Drawing on McConnell’s definition of failure, which seeks to bridge the gap between objective definitions of policy failure (where failure is understood as the gap between policy objectives and actual outcomes) and subjective definitions (where failure is understood as actors’ perceptions), we examine welfare reform and homelessness to understand whether, how and by whom policy in this area might be considered to have failed.

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