Projects launched to improve services for people with mental ill-health and substance abuse issues

Projects launched to improve services for people with mental ill-health and substance abuse issues

A Rough Sleeping allowance of £1.9 million has today, Tuesday 22 October 2019, been given to 6 projects involving partnerships between Local Authorities (LAs) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

These 6 projects will test and analyze models that improve access to health services for people who have both mental ill-health and drug and alcohol dependency urges- who are currently experiencing, or at danger of returning to, rough sleeping. Learnings from these plans will assist to inform national policy and local commissioning of health and support services. The funding has been given to projects based in Lambeth, Newcastle, Westminster, West Sussex, Portsmouth, and Leeds. They are expected to release in February and run for a year.

In West Sussex, people who sleep rough will be directed away from A&E and helped to access more suitable and accurate healthcare services. In Lambeth and Leeds, specialist groups will work on the street to help and coordinate the care of those experiencing rough sleeping. Portsmouth, Westminster and Newcastle projects are inclusive of placing nurses and other specialist staff, such as care coordinators, in homelessness services to give a wrap around and intensive support. All plans have been informed by people who have lived through the experience of rough sleeping.

People who experience rough sleeping have much poorer health than the regular population. Many have both mental ill-health and substance misuse requirements, physical health needs, and have experienced visible trauma in their lives. In 2018 there was an approximate of 726 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales, a growth of 22% since 2017, driven mostly by a significant increase in the number of deaths in relation to drug poisoning.