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50 years since ‘Cathy Come Home’

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Heriot-Watt University

Date/Time: 5th May 2016

It is 50 years since Cathy Come Home was first broadcast. The landmark TV drama by Ken Loach focused the nation’s attention on the plight of homeless families.

In 1977, legislation was introduced across Great Britain, later extended to Northern Ireland, which sought to provide permanent solutions for families like Cathy’s. Against the odds, this homelessness safety net has survived through almost 40 years of Conservative, Labour and Coalition governments. But is the UK’s unique homelessness safety net still fit for purpose? And can it withstand the current onslaught from austerity cuts and welfare reform?

Speaker biography

Suzanne Fitzpatrick completed her PhD on youth homelessness at the University of Glasgow in 1998, and subsequently held a number of academic posts at the University before moving to the University of York in 2003 to become Joseph Rowntree Professor of Housing Policy and Director of the Centre for Housing Policy.

Suzanne took up her Research Professorship in Housing and Social Policy at Heriot-Watt University in July 2010. She is currently Director of Heriot-Watt's Institute of Social Policy, Housing, Environment and Real Estate (I-SPHERE). 

Suzanne has published widely on the topics of homelessness, housing exclusion and social housing, and much of her work has an international comparative dimension. She was Editor of the International Journal of Housing Policy until 2013 and is a lead researcher in the recently established Institute of Global Homelessness.