Vulnerable groups

CRESR has a strong record in delivering research exploring the needs and experiences of vulnerable and 'hard-to-reach' groups. Our research portfolio includes a substantial body of work focused on vulnerable sections of the population, including:

  • homeless people, particularly marginalised subsections of this population, such as those with mental ill health, rough sleepers and the 'hidden homeless'
  • people with multiple or complex needs
  • gypsies and travellers
  • street sex workers
  • offenders

We evaluate the impact of particular interventions on vulnerable groups. For example, we examined the efficacy of family/intensive intervention projects and recently assessed the Yorkshire Prisons ETA scheme. We inform relevant policy through the production of toolkits and guidance for clients, such as for regional planning bodies looking to estimate gypsy and traveller pitch requirements. Two key areas of work involve considering the role and effectiveness of statutory and voluntary sector agencies and assessing how well the policy and legislative framework meets the needs of vulnerable groups.

Search our work

West Yorkshire Finding Independence Evaluation

Project Director: Professor Del Roy Fletcher
Project Duration: 2014-2020

A mixed method evaluation of the West Yorkshire Pilot funded under the auspices of the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Fulfilling Lives’ programme. The evaluation seeks to explore the implementation of the pilot and investigate its ability to provide an integrated service to those with multiple and complex needs (offending, homelessness, substance misuse and mental health problems).

ESRC Seminar Series: The health impact of cold homes and fuel poverty

Principal Applicant: Professor Angela Tod / Co-applicants: Jan Gilbertson, Professor Christine Liddell, Catherine Homer

Project Duration: 2015-2018

This seminar series will generate new understanding of human behaviour regarding cold homes, fuel poverty and their impact on health by reviewing current evidence, identifying evidence gaps and priorities for future research. The series will explicitly consider the influence of social and health inequalities, and focus on policy influences, impact and interventions. It will add to existing academic knowledge by reviewing and synthesising existing evidence, and will identify gaps in knowledge.

Homeless people’s access to the private rented sector

Project Director: Dr Kesia Reeve
Project Duration: 2015-2016

The project is exploring homeless people’s access to the private rented sector via a survey of private landlords, a survey of homeless people, and a survey of local authorities as well as qualitative case study interviews with a small number of homeless people who have attempted to secure private sector housing.  

Understanding the impact of the Breakthrough Project

Project Director: Dr Kesia Reeve
Project Duration: 2013-2016

This project involves CRESR working closely with the Cathedral Archer Project in Sheffield to understand the impact of an innovative project to support rough sleepers. The project involves helping to establish a monitoring system, evaluating impact on the clients of the project and understanding how the coordinated service model piloted by this project can be improved. Both the evaluation and the innovative initiative  of Cathedral Archer Project are being funded by the Lankelly Chase Foundation.

Evaluation of the Prepaid Card Live Test

Project Director: Jan Gilbertson and Dr Kesia Reeve
Project Duration: 2015

The aim of the prepaid card live test was to explore the feasibility of using prepaid cards to make benefit payments and to help identify any technical issues or opportunities to enhance financial inclusion presented by their use.  As part of this, DWP considered that it was essential to examine and capture the experiences of card users, including how the card worked for them as individuals and their views on how useful they found prepaid cards as a budgeting tool.

Get in touch

For further information please contact Dr Kesia Reeve at or call 0114 225 4519,
or Professor Ryan Powell at or call 0114 225 3561.

Key clients

Big Lottery Fund
Birmingham City Council
British Red Cross
Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for South Yorkshire (CLAHRC SY)
Department for Work and Pensions
Department of Children School and Families
Developing Initiatives Supporting Communities (DISC)
Glasgow Housing Assocation
Home Office
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Leeds City Council
National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA)
North Lincolnshire Council
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Scottish Executive
Scottish Government
Small Business Service
South East England Regional Assembly
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Stoke-on-Trent City Council
The Social Exclusion Unit
West Yorkshire Housing Partnership
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