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Personal profile


Sarah Johnsen is a Professorial Fellow in the Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Eqaulities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University.  After completing her PhD in Human Geography at the University of Otago (New Zealand), Sarah worked as Research Associate in the Geography Department at Queen Mary University of London.  She was then employed as Research Manager for The Salvation Army (UK & Ireland) before moving to a post as Research Fellow in the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York.  Sarah has been based at Heriot-Watt University since 2010.

Research interests

Most of Sarah’s research focuses on homelessness, addiction, and related forms of street culture (e.g. begging and street drinking).  She has particular expertise in relation to ‘deep’ social exclusion and welfare provision for people with complex support needs such as co-occurring substance misuse and mental health problems. Sarah also has ongoing interests in the role of faith communities in welfare provision, and the practice and ethics of research involving vulnerable people.

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homelessness Social Sciences
welfare Social Sciences
exclusion Social Sciences
sanction Social Sciences

Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1999 2018

Destitution in the UK 2018

Fitzpatrick, S., Bramley, G., Sosenko, F., Blenkinsopp, J., Wood, J., Johnsen, S., Littlewood, M. & Watts, B., 2018, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 72 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Open Access

Final Findings: Homelessness

Johnsen, S., Watts, B. & Fitzpatrick, S., May 2018, University of York. 8 p.

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

Open Access

Final Findings: Lone Parents

Johnsen, S. & Blenkinsopp, J., May 2018, University of York. 8 p. (Welfare Conditionality: Final Findings Reports)

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

Open Access
preschool child
longitudinal study

Homelessness and social control: a typology

Johnsen, S., Fitzpatrick, S. & Watts, B., 3 Oct 2018, In : Housing Studies. 33, 7, p. 1106-1126 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
social control
housing policy

Activities 2006 2019

Presentation for the Humanist Society Scotland

Johnsen, S. (Invited speaker)
17 Mar 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationPublic lecture

Plenary presentation at Australasian Housing Research Conference, Adelaide

Johnsen, S. (Keynote speaker)
7 Feb 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Housing Studies Association annual conference presentation

Johnsen, S. (Speaker), Wood, J. (Speaker), Peter Mackie (Contributor)
11 Apr 201813 Apr 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Keynote at Scottish Churches Housing Association and CRNS 'The Difference You're Making

Johnsen, S. (Keynote speaker)
13 Sep 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Plenary presentation at Housing First Scotland Pathfinders and Leaders Connect event

Johnsen, S. (Keynote speaker)
28 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk