Funding to improve health of rough sleepers

COUNCILS in England will receive £1.9 million in funding to help improve the health of rough sleepers.

Funding from Public Health England will be awarded to project applications 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.

Projects could include developing ‘in-reach’ care models where specialist substance misuse or mental health workers run sessions in hostels or day centres, and ‘outreach’ models to support rough sleepers at street level. Targeted interventions could also include "peer health advocacy" to encourage individuals to access and attend health appointments.

As survey of people seen sleeping rough in London in 2017 and 2018 found that 50 per cent had mental health needs, 43 per cent had alcohol misuse problems and 40 per cent had drug misuse problems. Such circumstances can contribute to a "revolving door", leaving individuals repeatedly in and out of stable accommodation.

Inequalities Minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, said: "Everyone should have a roof over their head and access to the right health services, no matter who they are. We are determined to stamp out this injustice once and for all.

"Understanding the factors that can lead to homelessness and the triggers that can trap people in a pattern of addiction and sleeping rough, coupled with a lack of support for their mental health, is crucial. This funding will help better equip local authorities to protect society’s most vulnerable and ensure no one slips through the net."

Funding applicants can go here to access a link to guidance and an application pack. The deadline is 5pm on Friday 5 July 2019. Successful projects will be announced in the summer.