Steve in Rupert Street, Soho in 2016

“A social documentary photography project done in partnership with Shelter which aims to amplify the voices of people with lived experience of homelessness. Through photography and personal testimony Outsiders will engage a broad public with the stories of people who are experiencing bad housing and homelessness and provide insights into this growing problem from the perspective of those who are living it. Outsiders encourages marginalised communities to share their stories and challenges public preconceptions about those they come across on the street.”

They all have a story, but nobody is listening. It is time to change all that.

Charlie from the Outsiders Project
Homeless in Soho (Charlie from the Outsiders Project)

A growing problem

Paul outside John Lewis in Oxford Street, London

Homelessness and poor-quality housing is an increasing problem in the UK with hundreds of thousands of people caught up in some form of homelessness or trapped in bad housing. In collaboration with the charity Shelter this project shines a light on the issues facing homeless people from their perspective and empowers them to tell their own stories. In 1968 Nick Hedges was commissioned by Shelter to produce an enduring record of bad housing conditions at the time. He was shocked to the core by what he found. This new project will seek to highlight what, if anything, has changed with the added element of capturing oral testimony from those involved and preserving this in perpetuity

Outsiders is a long-term project which will challenge the myth that only those who we see on the streets are homeless.

Fungus in the bathroom
Fungus in the bathroom

Photo shoots have now taken place in Manchester and London covering street homelessness and people living in substandard housing. It is planned to extend this to cover the North East of England, Dorset, Norfolk and Glasgow when it is possible to do this without putting participants at risk from the pandemic. The project was put on hold in March 2020 due to Covid-19 but it is hoped that it will be restarting later this year depending on how the pandemic progresses.


I grew up in children’s homes, I had abusive parents and I was abused as a child. From the age of 11, I was in and out of institutions and care homes all different ones in Stockport and in secure units. From the age of 13 I began sleeping on the streets, sleeping in the bin sheds on the Offerton Estate. I was running away from the care system. I coped by taking substances, first alcohol then cannabis, then whizz and heroin to numb the pain away
Michelle, Outsiders Participant, audio testimony Manchester, 2019