Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been reminded daily of the vital role that healthcare plays in our society. The pandemic has also highlighted the stark health inequalities experienced by people without a safe a secure home of their own.
It’s never been clearer that homelessness must be seen as a public health issue. When we support everyone in our communities, we all have the chance to thrive, but opportunities to resolve and prevent homelessness through the healthcare system are routinely missed. The most up to date figures for 2019-20 show that 2,950 people were discharged from either a general or psychiatric hospital with no home to go to.
That’s why Pathway will be merging with Crisis, the national charity for people who are homeless, in a bid to tackle the health inequalities impacting those who are homeless and ensure that the healthcare system plays its part in ending homelessness across Great Britain.
Pathway and Crisis will work together to ensure that the health service, through its contact with people who are homeless, fulfils its potential in actively resolving homelessness. Alongside this, together we will advocate for policy responses to homelessness that save lives and promote positive health outcomes.
The merger between Crisis and Pathway will aim to:
- Increase the number of dedicated hospital teams that work with patients who are homeless across the country, to ensure they receive better quality care and are not discharged from hospital into homelessness.
- Work with the NHS and wider health and social care services to help them prevent homelessness through evidence-based programmes such as Housing First and Critical Time Interventions that will ensure people get the support they need to leave homelessness behind for good.
- Campaign for the changes needed to save lives and demonstrate the positive health outcomes of immediate access to good quality emergency accommodation.
- Fill in knowledge gaps in inclusion health and homelessness research, including how to improve services, narrow health inequalities, assess the impact of government policies and the solutions needed to end homelessness for good.
Alex Bax, Pathway Chief Executive, said: “Pathway was founded on the belief that the NHS has a huge part to play in preventing and ending homelessness. By joining together with Crisis we will be able to do even more to support front-line NHS colleagues, build the skills and knowledge of NHS staff, and show how health, housing and care services working together is the best response to homelessness. Leading organisations from across the homelessness and health sector back our merger, believing it will bring real change to people facing homelessness now and in the future.