Funding released to help rough sleepers living with mental illness

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 roughsleepinggrant@phe.gov.uk by 5pm on Friday 5 July 2019. Successful projects will be announced in the summer.

Many people who are sleeping rough experience mental and physical illness and have substance misuse needs.

Rough sleepers face more barriers accessing health services, particularly those living with mental illness or substance misuse.

This can contribute to a ‘revolving door’, leaving individuals repeatedly in and out of stable accommodation.

Of the people seen sleeping rough in London in 2017 and 2018:

50% had mental health needs
43% had alcohol misuse problems
40% drug misuse problems
The government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy was announced last August and aims to halve rough sleeping by 2022.

The NHS Long Term Plan 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.

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