Many local, regional and national services work to support the physical and mental health of people who are experiencing homelessness, including support with finding emergency housing and protecting anyone at risk of abuse, harm or neglect.
NHS staff can support patients who are currently homeless by signposting them to services or putting patients in touch through a direct referral. Frontline NHS staff in London told us that they would welcome having information on services in one place, as it was often difficult to find services for patients, or to know which services to signpost them to. The following resources have been produced by Healthy London Partnership (HLP) to support staff and services working with patients and clients at risk or, or experiencing homelessness.
Homeless health resource pack
Our resource pack (updated September 2021) aims to bring together information on homelessness services to make it easier for frontline NHS staff and others to find the right support for people who are homeless.
The pack also includes information for commissioners, as well as details on the health needs of people who are homeless and their rights to health services.
The pack includes sections on:
- what to do when discharging a patient who is homeless from hospital
- where to find help with emergency housing
- where to find help for anyone who you believe is unsafe or at risk of abuse, harm or neglect
- where to get help if you believe a patient is sleeping rough
- how to find out what services or help is available in your area
- information about services that can support people whose immigration status means they have no recourse to public funds.
Learning from focus groups on homelessness and safeguarding
In 2017-18, the HLP Homeless Health team consulted on the London adult safeguarding and homelessness procedures. Two focus groups were commissioned on behalf of the London Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB) where group discussions with people with lived experience of homelessness, substance misuse and mental health problems were held to inform a consultation on the new appendix to the pan-London Multi-Agency Adult Safeguarding Policy and procedures, subsequently published by LSAB in August 2020.
The focus groups were delivered by homelessness organisations SPEAR, and Resolving Chaos in partnership with Aurora Lambeth, all of whom are thanked for their involvement in this project.
HLP has now made the focus group summary reports available as a learning resource, centred around the user voice. We hope these learnings may help inform future work led around adult safeguarding within the homeless health space.
- SPEAR focus group summary report
- Resolving Chaos in partnership with Aurora Lambeth focus group summary report
World Homeless Day 2021 – awareness toolkit
World Homeless Day takes place on October 10th. This annual campaign aims to educate people about homeless issues, celebrate and support good practice happening locally, and highlight local issues.
To mark this day, HLP has updated produced an awareness toolkit to highlight the links between homelessness and health. Also to signpost to the services and providers which help to support people experiencing homelessness in London.
We welcome feedback on the resource and will update it from time to time. If you have any comments please the Homeless Health team.