Homeless Health Consortium launched
All of us working in homelessness know that health is a critical issue for those who are precariously housed, or not housed at all. We know that within the homelessness population there are high rates of mental ill-health, high rates of physical health issues like COPD and lives are all too often cut short by decades. Yet still, too many people cannot access the healthcare services they need, when they need them.
Homeless Link has a long history of work in the health arena, including being part of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) funded Health and Wellbeing Alliance (HWA). The DHSC-led Alliance programme is designed to facilitate collaboration and co-production between the voluntary and community sector and health system partners - DHSC, NHS England and Public Health England (and its successor) - by bringing the voices and expertise of the sector, and the people and communities they represent, into national policy development and delivery.
We are delighted to say that we have won another three years of funding to continue our work on health. And this time we will be working as part of the Homeless Health Consortium (HHC), alongside Homeless Link members, Groundswell and Pathway.
- Homeless Link is the national membership organisation charity for frontline homelessness services, representing over 900 organisations
- Groundswell are the pre-eminent peer-led organisation working on the health issues experienced by people in housing need.
- Pathway is the UK’s leading homeless healthcare charity and as such, brings critical insight on what works from a clinical perspective
Marli Silva of DHSC said, “We are delighted to launch the refreshed HW Alliance, whose members represent a broad range of lived experiences. We look forward to working with HHC, as part of the HW Alliance, to promote good health and tackle inequalities across England.”
Fiona Colley, Director of Social Change at Homeless Link said, “Building on the part we played in the previous iteration of the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, we were determined to bring together a consortium that reflects a range of perspectives on the issue of homelessness and healthcare. We think we’ve achieved that with the HHC, bringing together the views of frontline homelessness support services, clinician expertise and people with lived experience. With this whole picture view, we believe the Consortium is ideally placed to work with health system partners to improve the health and wellbeing of England’s homelessness population.”
Commenting on being part of the HHC, Rachel Brennan, Groundswell #HealthNow Lead said, “We are really excited to be part of the consortium with Homeless Link and Pathway and feel this is an incredibly strong partnership ensuring views of homelessness organisations, inclusion healthcare provider and those with experience of homelessness are represented to effectively tackle health inequalities for people experience homelessness.
The third critical element to the HHC, complementing the perspective of people with lived experience and of those who provide services to support them, is Pathway. In the view of Alex Bax, CEO of Pathway, being part of the HHC, “gives us the chance, working together, to help health system partners understand how good quality care for our patients must be truly integrated and designed with and for patients. We firmly believe that the UK’s health system has a major part to play in ending homelessness, while at the same time dramatically improving care quality for the most excluded.”
Now begins the hard work, as we three - Homeless Link, Groundswell and Pathway - hammer out, with each other, with our members and stakeholders and with health partners, what critical changes both the health and homelessness sectors can make to improve the health outcomes of people in housing need and what we can do to make that happen.
If you would like to find out more about the HWA or HHC, or would like to share your experience of working to improve the health of those who are precariously housed, or not housed at all, we’d love to hear from you.
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