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HARP Leads Homeless Health Research

We are pleased to announce that we are leading a detailed research project aimed at improving the health of local homeless people, which will contribute towards a national survey of homeless health needs.

Together with partners Storehouse, 57 West, The Salvation Army, STARS, Trust Links, Southend Adult Community College, Off The Streets and Southend Churches Winter Night Shelters, we are hoping to survey up to 500 homeless and formerly homeless people as part of the Homeless Health Needs Audit.

People who become homeless, including those sofa surfing, have some of the highest and costliest health needs in any local community, but those needs are often overlooked when healthcare and social care services are planned and commissioned.

The audit aims to collect detailed information on service user health straight from the source, with a view to improving local services for vulnerable people.

The last national Homeless Needs Audit, which was published by Homeless Link in 2014, highlighted “the extent to which people who are homeless experience some of the worst health problems in society”.

Between 2014 and 2018, we made in excess of 3,800 medical interventions on behalf of over 1,000 people.

Gary Turner, HARP’s Service Operations Manager, said: “Sadly, poor physical and mental health, loneliness, and alcohol or substance misuse often accompany homelessness. All of our work focusses on improving the health and wellbeing of the people we work with, but there is a gap between the services available and the actual needs of local vulnerable people. We hope that this ambitious project will help us and our partners to improve the services that we offer, and inform local health commissioners too, so that ultimately health outcomes can be improved based on the feedback of the people who will actually use the services.”

If you work for an organisation that has significant contact with homeless people or those on the fringes of homelessness and want to be involved as a survey champion then please contact us here or call 01702 615 000.

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