Getting Sorted Out in East London: Vulnerability and Resilience of Homeless Ex-Servicemen


This study explores homeless veterans’ past and present lives while paying close attention to their family and friend interactions. Men who were homeless (n=37) in the United Kingdom (UK) and residing in a shelter focused on ex-Servicemen were interviewed to explore their experiences of stress and resilience. Data were collected using in-depth interviews focused on past experiences with adversity, present experiences of homelessness, and current social connections. Themes of vulnerability and resilience emerged from the thematic analysis. Vulnerability themes included early life adversity, adversity in adulthood, mental and physical health difficulties, and experiences of home- lessness. Resilience themes included positive outlook, perseverance, looking to the future, and formal and informal support networks. The findings highlight the significance of accounting for both vulnerability and resilience when trying to understand the lives of people who are homeless. Ultimately, the considera- tion of both vulnerability and resilience effectively informs interventions which may lead to moving veterans who are homeless from social exclusion to social inclusion.

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European Journal of Homelessness