Publish Date:

5 April 2022

Peers with experience of homelessness offer unique perspectives in supporting those experiencing homelessness. Peer support fostered and developed by professional organisations, termed intentional peer support (IPS), formalises this process. This review aims to assess the effectiveness of IPS as an intervention for young adults and adult homeless persons (including street dwelling and those within services).

Peer support has significant impacts on quality of life, drug/alcohol use, and social support. Common elements of peer support are identified, suggesting possible processes that underlie effective peer support. Shared experiences, role modeling, and social support are suggested to be vital aspects of peer support and moderate changes in homeless clients. One study was deemed to have moderate/high quality; the remaining studies had low and moderate quality. The limitations of each are discussed.