Families Experiencing Homelessness
Improving the mental and physical health outcomes for parents and children experiencing homelessness.
A hidden population living in emergency and temporary accommodation
Across Greater Manchester there are over 3000 children living in emergency or temporary accommodation, but they are a hidden population, with services at full capacity, failing to reach them. Confined spaces, crowded living and failure in service coordination leads to health and social needs not being met. We see an increase in depression, vulnerability to diseases such as bronchitis and existing physical conditions, such as asthma, exacerbated. In addition, safeguarding risk increases and child development fails to progress with homeless children missing on average 55 days of school.
Services and sectors are not joined up with no clear line of communication. As such families experiencing homelessness slip through the gaps.
Shared Health's recommendations for Homeless Families are;
- A minimum set of standards and facilities in Emergency and Temporary Accommodation (safer sleeping provision for infants is a life saving must)
- No mixing of vulnerable single adults and families in B&Bs, ever. This is a safeguarding risk.
- Homeless Children to have similar rights for education and health as those in corporate parentship (Looked After Children is an example)
- Wrap around support for Homeless Families such as Focused Care.
- Support for Housing Officers
- A National Notification System similar to Operation Encompass to ensure no Homeless Family gets lost in the sysytem. (Here is the guidance for how schools and GPs can support Homeless Families)
OUR WORK AND INTERVENTIONS
Connecting services in our region and leading on strategy discussion at Westminster
Our work to support families experiencing homelessness has been vast and continues to include frontline work, advocacy and policy change.
- Provide Focused Care support in emergency and temporary accommodation, to support child development and health.
- Deliver trauma support interventions to build resilience and improve mental health outcomes
- Work with accommodation providers and local authorities to improve accommodation standards and provision and implement a re-procurement process.
- Are embedded with local housing teams to support the most complex families on their journey through homelessness. We work across boroughs, local authorities and commissioning teams to ensure consistency of care is provided, irrespective of postcode.
- Co-lead the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Households in Temporary Accommodation with Justlife to ensure families experiencing homelessness is tackled at a national level.
- Work alongside VCSEs, schools, health visitors, the faith sector, general practitioners to improve coordination of care, as well an active member of the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network.
Breaking the cycle locally and calling for policy change nationally
We have seen significant benefits of our interventions, not only through improvement of mental and physical health, but in adding stability to households to counteract the cyclical nature of homelessness.
We have worked with accommodation providers to deliver safeguarding and mental health training and identification of key health and social care pathways - this has improved service access for our families, incorporating prevention not just crisis response.
Our key recommendations (from our Gold Standard Report and Call To Action) are being implemented at a local level which will significantly improve the health, wellbeing and safety of homeless families.
You can be a voice for change! You can get involved with Shared Health’s work with homeless families by helping us campaign for policy change and building a network of advocates. Email us at Contact@sharedhealth.org.uk
To learn more about out work and our findings on this project, click the button below to download these documents:
- Homeless Families, The Gold Standard: A Proposal
- Homeless Families: A Call to Action
- Households in Temporary Accommodation: All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness Agenda
- Letter from All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness to Housing Minister