Homeless service offers lifeline to keep hospital patients off the streets
Published by kerri smith for Reach the People Charity in Housing and also in Communities, Health
A Midlands-based charity has given a vital lifeline to more than 100 people at risk of homelessness after being discharged from hospital or leaving prison, thanks to a groundbreaking project.
Trident Reach the People Charity has been running the specialist service since last April, providing short-term places for people with nowhere to go and then working with them to sort accommodation in the longer term.
The pilot scheme helps people from Birmingham and Sandwell who are at risk of rough sleeping, including people with mobility and other health issues who have recently left hospital.
Trident Reach has been working in partnership with hospitals, local authorities and prison services to take referrals, making sure people do not slip through the net and receive the appropriate help and support they need.
The service aims to reduce the risk of former hospital patients developing further health problems and prevent ex-prisoners re-offending.
Due to run for another year, the project involves Trident Reach’s various homeless services across Birmingham and has been supported by a £245,624 grant from the Homeless Transition Fund.
Amy Hewett, Head of Homeless Services at Trident Reach, said: “The scheme has had lots of success working with people across the West Midlands and we hope it will go from strength to strength in the coming year.
“But we are concerned that some hospital patients may be slipping through the net. We are working with hospitals to make sure staff refer patients to us who are likely to be discharged with nowhere to go, so that we can make sure we are there for them and they do not end up sleeping rough on the streets.
“Our homeless service prioritises people at risk in this way, so that we can offer them accommodation. Some may have mobility problems and need disability accessible accommodation.
“We help manage their immediate housing crisis but then we work with people for up to six months to help them move on to more permanent accommodation.
“By doing this we help stabilise their health and housing situation, reducing the risk of them having to be re-admitted to hospital in the future.”
Simon J Clark, who has been helped by the service, said:
“I was referred to the Homeless Transition Project via my social worker because I had nowhere to go upon discharge. The Homeless Transition Project have been very supportive and have listened to my needs and considered my current health situation. I had a brain tumour removed last month. I didn’t want to go to a hostel again and they found me a nice one bed flat with support. I feel safe and secure and look forward to recovering.”
Trident Reach provides housing, care and support services to vulnerable people across the Midlands region, including homeless people, those with disabilities or mental health problems, the elderly and people fleeing domestic abuse.
For hospital workers or prison officers working with people who may be at risk please contact Mandy Tsang (Hospital Link Officer) on 07764 813388 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ellie Thorne (Prison Link Officer) on 07920 743 841 or email@example.com