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Arts University Bournemouth hosts national conference to address student homelessness


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Figures from across the Higher Education sector will gather at Arts University Bournemouth to explore and discuss research, policy, and the impact of student homelessness across the UK

Speakers including leading figures from the Office for Students, Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Centre for Homelessness Impact will take part in a university-led conference to highlight the impact of homelessness in university towns, cities, and communities across the UK.

The free-to-attend event, which has been devised and hosted by Arts University Bournemouth, will see a range of speakers from across the Higher Education sector explore how universities can do more to support those with lived experience of homelessness.

The event will establish systemic, institutional, and individual solutions that can be used to support an evidence -based approach to ending homelessness.

According to recent data provided by a National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland survey, more than 12% of Scottish students had experienced homelessness since starting their studies.

A report authored by HEPI in July 2022 also suggests that homelessness assistance applications are ‘significantly higher in university towns and cities’, with recommendations made for universities to probe deeply into whether more can be done to protect both students and communities.

Dr Alex Blower, Access and Participation Manager at AUB, pictured above left, has led the University team organising the conference.

He said: “We're thrilled to be partnering with the Centre for Homelessness Impact to host the Homelessness and Higher Education Conference.

“As a sector, we're in the midst of navigating socio-economic circumstances which pose significant challenges for University students and staff. Perhaps more than ever, universities face a very real risk of the students they support experiencing homelessness.

“We'll be joined by specialist speakers to examine the role of Higher Education in supporting those with lived experience of homelessness in policy and practice, seeking to establish solutions that can be taken to support an evidence-based approach to ending homelessness.

He added: “Our event will meaningfully engage with the issue of homelessness and explore the role that Higher Education plays in ending it.”

Among those addressing the Conference will be John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students, Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, and ‘Could universities do more to end homelessness?’ report author Greg Hurst, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at the Centre for Homelessness Impact.

Patrick Mulrenan, Associate Professor of Learning at University of East London will be part of the delegation, alongside Fiona Ellison, Director of the Unite Foundation, and Jo Easton, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Unlock. The universities of Glasgow, Sheffield Hallam, and Chichester will also be contributing.

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