Commissioned by the Centre for Homelessness Impact and run by King College London, the Randomised Controlled Trial of Homefinder UK’s services is due to go live this July. The purpose of the project is to analyse Homefinder UK as an effective homelessness intervention. The study aims to identify what impact Homefinder UK has had for participants, both quantitatively and qualitatively, as well as their quality of life such as physical health, mental health and social connectedness.
What is a Randomised Controlled Trial?
Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) are often used in evaluating the effectiveness of a given intervention. Generally, these trials are designed to measure change in an outcome variable over time, an example of how they can be used is the difference in weight between two groups of people who have been given different diets.
The subjects are randomly allocated to treatment and control groups and the effect on each group is measured. The goal of an RCT is to reduce bias by ensuring that both groups being studied have similar characteristics (such as age, sex, ethnicity, education level and socioeconomic status) that might affect their response to the treatment being studied.
How will the Randomised Controlled Trial work?
There will be a recruitment window of approximately 8-12 weeks. During this period, any applicants who complete the pre-registration form and are not considered ‘high-need’ will be given the opportunity to take part in the evaluation. If they consent to take part, they will be allocated to either the ‘treatment’ group – who will receive the service immediately, or the ‘control’ group, who will receive the service in six months’ time.
Surveys will be issued to both groups before the trial starts, during the trial and towards the end of the trial. These surveys will help us understand housing stability, wellbeing and other outcomes.
A few participants from both groups will also be invited to longer form interviews to discuss their housing, health, lifestyle, employment and experiences in more detail.
Who will be excluded from the trial?
We will exclude people with immediate need from the trial, this is so the people who are most in need of housing will be able to access our services as soon as possible. If someone is in the trial and becomes someone who we deem to be in immediate need of housing, they will be withdrawn from the trial and get access to the Homefinder UK service.
What are the advantages of participating?
This is one of the few Randomised Controlled Trials on a homelessness project done in the UK, it will provide lots of important data to improve Homefinder UK service and we think it could be useful for many others too. Having evidence of the impact that Homefinder UK’s service provides to the participants of the trial will help allocate funding to practices that work and could potentially influence change in housing policy and resource allocation.
Alongside that, participants who are put forward will receive rewards in return for survey completion and those allocated to the control group, will be monitored for need, and will be able to access Homefinder UK after a 6 month delay.
The project has gone through a thorough approval process by King's College London Research Ethics, ensuring that Homefinder UK, Centre for Homelessness Impact and King's College London are adhering to a high ethical standard.
I’m a housing applicant, how can I participate in the trial?
If you would like to participate in the King's College London Randomised Controlled Trial on Homefinder UK’s service, you can find out if you are eligible for Homefinder UK’s service by filling out the pre-registration eligibility form.
I’m a local authority/housing association member of Homefinder UK, how will this affect my organisation?
If you are a member landlord of Homefinder UK and are wanting to learn more about how the King's College London Randomised Controlled Trial on Homefinder UK’s service will affect your work, please contact us via email at [email protected].