BBC: Government plan to end homelessness by 2027

rough sleeping

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire vowed to make homelessness “a thing of the past” and the government has vowed to end rough sleeping by 2027…

But when questioned on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Brokenshire said half of the promised £100m had already been committed to homelessness and rough sleeping, with the other half “reprioritised” from existing budgets in his department.

You can read the full article on the BBC website here: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45162892

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Public Health England (PHE) Hep C update

World Hepatitis Day took place on 28th July and Public Health England (PHE) London would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone about the resources available for Hepatitis C at a local level.

Hep C

Up to 58,000 people in London have been exposed to the virus, with 40,000 of these people estimated to have active disease. Forty percent of these people are thought to be undiagnosed. Ninety percent of those affected by Hepatitis C will have acquired their infection through injecting drug use.

New Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) have revolutionised the treatment of Hepatitis C in recent years, reducing the amount of time treatment takes, vastly improving cure rates, and eliminating unpleasant side effects. In January 2018, NHS England committed to eliminating Hepatitis C five years earlier than the goal set by the World Health Organisation of 2030.

You can find PHE London Hepatitis C Bulletin 2018 here

Evaluation of Service User Involvement in Camden

Tonic report front page

Camden commissioners hired an independent organisation called Tonic to do an evaluation of service user involvement in Camden. Tonic heard from 123 users of both mental health and drug & alcohol services and they have produced a report which you can read here.

Tonic: Camden Service User Engagement report

The report proposes the following options for the continuation of Camden involvement. Watch this space because commissioners will decide soon!

Option 1: Refine and review the current specification. Commission an independent organisation to co-ordinate service user involvement across the Borough for mental health and substance misuse. This service would operate as the ‘go to’, impartial, service for service users to share views, or for the council to seek input for consultations.

Option 1a: Commission two separate independent organisations to co-ordinate service user involvement; one for substance misuse and one for mental health.

Option 2: Offer independent funding directly for service user groups (e.g. directly from the council to service user groups e.g. CBUG)

Option 2a: Stipulate in new contract with independent provider that some of the budget should be retained for service users to apply for grant funding for new initiatives.

Option 3: Contract with a current commissioned provider to provide and coordinate independent service user involvement activity across the cohort (either substance misuse or mental health). Key to this option is that service users feel confident that their views will not affect their care from said provider and this function is seen as an adjunct to the other activities offered.

Option 4: Do not commission an independent service user involvement service outside of the current service providers, as they already promote service user engagement as part of their individual contracts. This would, however, not benefit from a resource to pool together all of the separate service user engagement and feedback into one place for providers and commissioners and service users may be concerned they cannot give honest feedback to the service providers about their care/treatment.

The Pavement

The Pavement is a magazine and website for homeless people committed to publishing independent advice as well as hard-hitting and entertaining reportage. They aim to provide and publicise appropriate information that is objective, timely and relevant on a range of advisory and practical services available to homeless people, as well as news on the issues impacting the homeless and dispossessed from across the UK. Their ultimate goal is to help reduce short-term hardship amongst their readers and longer term to provide them with information to enable them to guide their own futures.

Pavement

You can visit the site here: http://www.thepavement.org.uk/index.php

Their journalists cover the news from the streets or news affecting the streets, and often deal with topics ignored by the mainstream press. Alongside this, other professionals provide features on health, foot care, legal advice and life in hostels, with the back pages given over to The List, a regularly updated directory of homeless services.

National Day of Action to Stop and Scrap Universal Credit

Disabled against cuts

Disabled campaigners held a national day of action yesterday (Wednesday 17th April) calling on the government to halt the roll-out of its Universal Credit.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Single Mothers’ Self-Defence and WinVisible activists demonstrated in Westminster against the national introduction of the new benefit system.

To find out more about DPAC please visit their website: https://dpac.uk.net/2018/03/national-day-of-action-to-stopandscrap-universal-credit/

You can see the protest reported here:

Guardian: “NHS slashes funds for top homeless mental health team”

Fears for rough sleepers as specialist north London unit faces 42% budget reduction.

NHS Homeless funding cuts

NHS bosses are under fire for cutting back a team of doctors and nurses who provide mental health care to one of Britain’s largest groups of homeless people.

Camden NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in north London is giving the Focus Homeless Outreach team £219,866 less a year starting on 1 April, a leaked CCG document reveals. One of the team’s two psychiatrists and one of its six nurses will lose their jobs as a result.

Critics say the decision makes a mockery of Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt’s repeated claims that NHS mental health services are receiving record amounts of funding to improve care. They fear it will lead to more rough sleepers suffering mental health crises and killing themselves, and that it will add to the already heavy demand for care being faced by hospitals and GPs in Camden.

The CCG is pressing ahead with the 42% cut to the £521,000 budget it gave the team this year despite a storm of protest from local GPs, psychiatrists, homeless charities and managers of hostels where rough sleepers sometimes stay. Camden had the third highest rate of rough sleeping in England in 2017, recent government statistics showed – more than Manchester, Bristol and Cornwall.

Focus, set up 25 years ago, helps treat the high levels of depression, psychosis and other mental health conditions found in rough sleepers, hostel dwellers and “sofa surfers”, including some asylum seekers and people who have been trafficked. Its budget is being reduced even though it is regarded by NHS, local council and social work bosses in London as a model of good practice of how to reach the kind of group that often shuns traditional NHS services…

Read the full article on the Guardian website here.

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol

If you are concerned about someone who is homeless, please ensure that they are aware of the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP). This means that anyone who is homeless can present at their local council, or contact the out of hours team & ask for assistance to be accommodated in a B&B, hostel or night shelter whilst the temperature is 0° or below.

They don’t need to prove a local connection or be in priory need. No one should be left to manage these conditions.

If people do not wish to accept temporary accommodation, local homeless projects can often help with robust sleeping bags.