Counting All Homelessness in Europe: The Case for Ending Separate Enumeration of ‘Hidden Homelessness’

Nicholas Pleace, Koen Hermans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the challenges around the measurement of all homelessness in Europe. The paper begins by reviewing challenges in relation to definition and measurement and moves on to consider the political and ethical dimensions of measuring homelessness that occurs within housing. The paper concludes by proposing new definitions, including dropping the term ‘hidden homelessness’, and advocates properly resourced and directed social research. It is argued that physical-legal definitions have proven unsatisfactory in the face of evidence about the importance of the psychological and emotional dynamics around the meaning of home, and that there are ethical questions around imposing categorisations of homelessness on populations who might not see themselves or their situation in such terms. However, while it is argued that there is a need to acknowledge these challenges, there is also an imperative to create a concise, practical and measurable European definition of homelessness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-62
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Homelessness
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Homelessness
  • enumeration

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