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Research on International Reconnections

‘Reconnection’ is a process whereby people experiencing homelessness who have a connection to another area (either elsewhere in the UK or internationally) are offered support by a local authority or a charity to return to their country of origin as a route out of homelessness.  

International reconnections have become increasingly prevalent since 2006, when they were first introduced as part of the Government’s response to address rough sleeping.

Despite being widely used there is a little evidence about their effectiveness as an intervention nor the outcomes they achieve.  

A new longitudinal research and evaluation project on International Reconnections has started to address this gap in evidence.

The research is being conducted by Campbell Tickell, a multi-disciplinary consultancy working predominantly on housing issues. The project is being managed by Crisis and supported by the Greater London Authority.  

The objectives of the research are to: 

  • Assess and understand the outcomes achieved through using Reconnection internationally as a tool to address homelessness (i.e. housing stability, health and wellbeing, reduction in drug and alcohol use). 
  • Assess how effective International Reconnections are as an intervention to solve homelessness.  
  • Understand how International Reconnections differ by approach/managing agency and what constitutes best practice by examining: 
    • Non-supported returns 
    • Supported reconnections (e.g. through Routes Home) 
    • Home Office Voluntary Return Service 
  • Examine the extent to which outcomes differ by demographics and support needs of the people being Reconnected (e.g. level of support needs, nationality, ethnicity)  
  • Map the support models being offered and how this differs by destination (e.g. EEA/non-EEA, high income or low income countries, etc) 

Stakeholder interviews and workshops will be conducted with organisations and individuals working in this space such as local authorities, providers of Assisted Voluntary Return programmes in the UK and international homelessness organisations. 

To understand and track reconnection outcomes, the research will engage and follow a sample of people being reconnected internationally who will be contacted at multiple points over 12 months to understand their experiences and efficacy of the support they have received. 

An advisory group to support the research is being established, and researchers are keen to talk to a wide range of stakeholders. If you are interested in taking part or would like to know more about the research, please contact Campbell Tickell at: