Destitution in the UK 2023

Location: Zoom webinar
Date: Thursday 26 October
Time: 10:30 – 12:00

The UK should be a country where everyone has the chance of a healthy, decent and secure life regardless of where they live or who they are. Instead, too many people are experiencing destitution. This means not being able to meet their most basic physical needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed.


This study, the fourth in the Destitution in the UK series, reveals why we urgently need a bold and ambitious programme of action to address destitution and its corrosive impacts.

Join us for this event and hear how destitution has changed in the UK over the last three years and explore which groups are most likely to experience destitution and why.


The Speakers

 Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick
Director of I-SPHERE
Heriot Watt

@ISPHERE_HWU Suzanne is a leading international scholar on homelessness, and has undertaken research on family, single and youth homelessness, as well as on rough sleeping, ‘street culture activities’, domestic violence, and rights-based approaches to tackling housing exclusion. Her methodological expertise lies mainly in qualitative research, and in policy, legal and international comparative analysis, but she has also led numerous mixed methods studies with strong statistical components.

Suzanne is principal investigator on the highly respected Crisis/Joseph Rowntree Foundation funded “Homelessness Monitor” series, and has recently led major programmes of work on “Destitution in the UK”, also for JRF, and on severe and multiple disadvantage (“Hard Edges”), for the Lankelly-Chase Foundation/Robertson Trust. Suzanne is currently managing a four-year programme to support the Oak Foundation’s evaluation and research on homelessness, and she is a lead researcher for the Chicago-based Institute of Global Homelessness.

Katie Schmuecker
Principal Policy Adviser

Katie leads a programme of work on destitution and deep poverty at JRF. She is one of the authors of JRF’s ‘We Can Solve Poverty’ report, which was described as a landmark report by BBC Home Affairs Editor Mark Easton. She is a regular commentator in the media through blogs, articles and broadcast appearances. Her areas of expertise include poverty, destitution, living wage, Minimum Income Standards, Universal Credit, devolution, economic development and local growth.

Prior to joining JRF, Katie was Associate Director at the Institute for Public Policy Research North where she conducted research and authored reports on regional economic development, neighbourhood renewal and UK devolution. She has also worked for the Campaign for the English Regions, the Yes campaign for an elected North East Regional Assembly, and for an MP.

Bridget Young

Originally from South Africa, Bridget has worked in housing and homelessness in the UK for over 17 years. Before joining NACCOM as Director in 2021 Bridget managed the Transforming the Private Rented Sector programme at the Nationwide Foundation, including co-founding the Renters’ Reform Coalition, which brings together over 20 organisations representing renters to positively and proactively influence Government policy. Bridget also spent ten formative years in the housing team at Crisis working with charities and local authorities across the UK to fund, establish and deliver housing services.

Muhammad Ali
Senior Debt Advisor
Community Links

Senior Debt Advisor at Community Links, Muhammad is a frontline advisor for the local community across numerous boroughs within and around East London, providing both benefit and debt advice. Muhammad has worked collaboratively with organisations, clients, and partners in promoting awareness and has identified the need for advice within the local community. His main goal is to make an impact within the local community and to ensure key changes are being implemented.


Tom Clark

@prospect_clark Tom Clark is a journalist who takes a special interest in social science and its application to the problem of poverty. Before joining JRF as a Fellow, he spent five years as Editor of Prospect, Britain’s leading current affairs monthly. Prior to that he was at the Guardian, writing daily editorials on social policy and economics, running its opinion polling and eventually becoming the paper’s chief leader writer.

Earlier on, he did a spell as an adviser in Whitehall, and another at the Institute for Fiscal Studies researching inequality. Tom is a regular podcaster, fronting weekly shows at both the Guardian and Prospect, and has written books including Hard Times: Inequality, Recession Aftermath (Yale). Alongside his work for JRF, Tom remains as a Contributing Editor at Prospect and is also a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.