This week the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced that £1.9 million will be given to councils by Public Health England to help improve the health of rough sleepers.
The funding will be awarded to projects that improve access to health services and continuity of care for people with mental ill-health and substance misuse problems who are sleeping rough or at risk of returning to rough sleeping.
This could include:
‘in-reach’ care models where specialist substance misuse or mental health workers run sessions in hostels or day centres
‘outreach’ models where specialist workers support rough sleepers at street level
targeted interventions such as peer health advocacy that supports individuals to access and attend health appointments
Applications for a share of the funding should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Friday 5 July 2019. Successful projects will be announced in the summer.
This is really important news as many people who are sleeping rough experience mental and physical illness and have substance misuse needs. Rough sleepers face more barriers accessing health services which can lead to a ‘revolving door’ situation where homeless people end up repeatedly in and out of stable accommodation.
The NHS Long Term Plan has also committed to spending up to £30 million extra over 5 years to meet the health needs of rough sleepers to ensure better access to specialist homelessness NHS mental health support.