Edinburgh Uni’s Research & Evaluation of Street Support Edinburgh

Street Support Network works online and offline, connecting and supporting local people and organisations to tackle homelessness. Our vision is a citizen-led network, where people with personal insight into homelessness, decision makers and people with resources co-create effective solutions together. Our website is a central place for people experiencing homelessness to Find Help and members of the public to Give Help. We also work offline, connecting people to co-produce better solutions, facilitating conversation and co-ordinating action.

Up until 2021, Street Support Network operated only in England. We have now crossed the borders and extended our reach to Edinburgh, with the hope of rolling out to the rest of Scotland in due course.  Working in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and Simon Community Scotland, both key organisations in the homelessness sector, we are seeing Street Support Edinburgh take shape with 61 organisations now featured on the site.

So far, Street Support Edinburgh has been well received, but Dr Fiona Cuthill, Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and her team wanted to find out more. A successful research funded application from the Data Driven Innovation Department within the University of Edinburgh has allowed a six month evaluation project of Street Support Edinburgh to commence.

The evaluation project is split into two parts. One part is looking at key website metrics such as which pages are being viewed and how much time is being spent on these pages. The second part will focus on interviewing people with lived experience of homelessness, partners and the general public to find out what they think of the site. We will find out what people think is working, what could be improved and other feedback that may be relevant toward the end of 2021.

This is the first time an in depth research project has been carried out on the effectiveness and impact of Street Support Network. We look forward to receiving the final evaluation and learning how we can improve the site to better connect people who are homeless to the support services they need.