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Personal profile


Beth is a Senior Research Fellow at I-SPHERE, Heriot-Watt University. Her research focuses on homelessness, youth homelessness, rough sleeping and complex needs, social housing, and poverty. Her current work includes monitoring the impacts of welfare reform and the wider policy and economic context on UK homelessness via the 2011-2021 Crisis and Joseph Rowntree Foundation-funded Homelessness Monitors project and evidencing the impacts of welfare conditionality on young people, rough sleepers and social housing tenants via the Economic and Social Research Council-funded Welfare Conditionality: sanctions, support and behaviour change project. She has a background in philosophy and a particular interest the ethics of social policy and practice interventions. Beth is the Chair of the Housing Studies Association, on the editorial board of the journal Housing Studies and a non-executive director for The Rock Trust, a Scottish youth homelessness charity. She completed her PhD comparing responses to homelessness in Scotland and Ireland in 2013 at the University of York and has previously worked as a researcher at The Young Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Shelter.

Research interests

  • Homelessness and youth homelessness
  • Rough sleeping and complex needs
  • Social housing and security of tenure
  • Welfare conditionality
  • Political and moral philosophy and their application in social policy analysis

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Research Output

Capabilities, Value Pluralism and Homelessness

Watts, B. & Fitzpatrick, S., 26 May 2020, In : Housing, Theory and Society. 37, 3, p. 295-299 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Open Access
  • 124 Downloads (Pure)

    The City Under COVID‐19: Podcasting As Digital Methodology

    Rogers, D., Herbert, M., Whitzman, C., McCann, E., Maginn, P. J., Watts, B., Alam, A., Pill, M., Keil, R., Dreher, T., Novacevski, M., Byrne, J., Osborne, N., Büdenbender, M., Alizadeh, T., Murray, K., Dombroski, K., Prasad, D., Connolly, C., Kass, A. & 3 others, Dale, E., Murray, C. & Caldis, S., Jul 2020, In : Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie. 111, 3, p. 434-450 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • The limits of localism: a decade of disaster on homelessness in England

    Fitzpatrick, S., Pawson, H. & Watts, B., 8 May 2020, In : Policy and Politics.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 70 Downloads (Pure)
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)


    Housing Studies Association conference 2018

    Beth Watts (Participant)

    12 Mar 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    Controlling homeless people: power, legitimacy and interventionism

    Beth Watts (Speaker)

    6 Nov 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Housing and Domestic Abuse

    Beth Watts (Speaker)

    23 Mar 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Images of Homelessness, Focus Ireland and Trinity College Dublin Seminar

    Beth Watts (Keynote speaker)

    16 Jan 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    University of Sheffield, Urban Studies and Planning Seminar, 'The Ethics of Welfare Conditionality'

    Beth Watts (Invited speaker)

    14 Feb 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk