Journal Article

The hotelisation of the housing crisis: Experiences of family homelessness in Dublin hotels


At a time of acute housing crisis, hotels are increasingly being deployed to give temporary shelter to homeless families in wealthy cities. This paper explores the socio‐political implications of the use of hotels for temporary accommodation, drawing on research conducted in Dublin. Specifically, we argue that the housing of homeless families in hotels exposes how they are made out of place in the city, even in the spaces allocated to house them. Hotels are spaces designed for the respite of others but, for homeless families, they conversely offer no relief and are even actively disruptive to their lives. The paper explores three ways in which hotels, presumed to provide restorative breaks from everyday routines, conversely act as points of rupture for homeless families. First, we consider how hotels are marketed as spaces where social reproductive work can be enjoyably put on hold. However, we argue that these perceived conveniences are experienced as disruptive for families forced to live in hotels for months, even years, at a time. Second, we explore the juxtaposition between the well‐being and health benefits hotels are designed to offer guests and the devastating physical and mental health implications for homeless families living in hotels. Third, we compare how hotel management and marketing emphasise the importance of customer service as integral to a hotel's success, while simultaneously shaming and stigmatising homeless residents. The paper concludes by calling for greater attention to be paid to how hotels, normally considered sites of rest, become sites of rupture when used as temporary accommodation, exacerbating the stigmatisation and threats to well‐being that homeless families suffer.

Attached files


Nowicki, Mel
Brickell, Katherine
Harris, Ella

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-06-03

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