This article offers a critical appraisal of the ‘New Labour' governments’ (1997–2010) much vaunted commitment to confronting and combating the spectre of visible rough sleeping and its associated street culture. It reviews the trajectory of policy initiatives and welfare practices concerned with engendering the social inclusion of homeless people. It subsequently interrogates attempts to shape the behaviour of people experiencing homelessness through the imposition of greater conditionality and invocation of an ethic of self-responsibility. It stresses the importance of considering the role of actively engaged local communities in governing homeless people and regulating homeless service providers. It does this using an ethnographic case study of homelessness and housing need in a small market town in the south-west of England.
- social exclusion