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connect THE MAGAZINE OF THE HOMELESSNESS SECTOR

mental health

A clear view ahead

Filling the gap...

talking about mental health

How ECHG is working in partnership to support clients with mental health and substance misuse problems in Hull...

Look Ahead’s Bayswater hostel explains how they support rough sleepers with low level mental health needs...

We hear about some of the innovative approaches being used to tackle mental health stigma and raise awareness...

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14-15

24-25

CONNECT spring 2010, issue 39 | WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK


CONNECT | SPRING 2010

©Robert Davidson

COMMENT

20%

member discount

NEW!

in-form

Homeless Link’s NEW client recording system has launched! In-Form is a new, affordable online client recording system made by the homelessness sector, for the sector and we are pleased to be offering Homeless Link Members a 20% discount. Building on 10 years experience of working with service providers of all scopes and sizes, In-Form offers: • • • • •

Full recording and reporting compatibility with Supporting People and eCORE Intuitive monitoring of key outcomes using Homeless Link’s Outcomes Star Powerful reporting using inbuilt and ad hoc reporting tools A secure online system with high availability and reliability Integration with many other applications

Find out more

For further information about In-Form, our prices and to see a demonstration, please contact us on: T: 020 7840 4443 E: inform@homelesslink.org.uk

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK/IN-FORM-CLIENT-RECORDING

stay CONNECTed EDITORIAL & DESIGN Editor Michelle Doust Editorial Panel Kate Alaway, Tina Crockett, Ben Dickenson, Gill Perkins, Jessica Plant, Elizabeth Schertler and Martin Webber Designer Michelle Doust Cover Photo Stephen, client at Bradford Alliance on Community Care (BACC). Photo by Robert Davidson. SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe or take out additional subscriptions to CONNECT please email: connect@homelesslink.org.uk

BE IN THE NEXT ISSUE! Our summer issue, out in early July, will take an in-depth look at what can be done to future-proof the homelessness sector and look at the impact of changing political agendas for homelessness policy and practice…

If you have suggestions about which topics we should cover in this issue or would like to submit an article please email: editor@homelesslink.org.uk before 28th Aprril 2010. www.homeless.org.uk/connect


CONNECT | SPRING 2010

COMMENT WELCOME

upfront Over the past ten years we have seen a lot of progress. Homeless families are no longer living in B&B’s, the number of people sleeping rough fell by 75% and the Government has committed to end rough sleeping by 2012.

We’re delighted that the Electoral Commission has worked with us to promote homeless people’s rights to register to vote. Our election toolkit shows you how to raise your organisation’s profile and the issues of homelessness with prospective parliamentary candidates.

As you would expect, we have been busy talking with the parties and their spokespeople. We want to ensure that the next prime minister, whoever it is, is excited and committed These are a testament to our sector’s proven record of success and ability to reach out and win allies and partners. to being the prime minister who announces that we have With a general election due at any moment, now is the time effectively ended rough sleeping. to focus on what we aspire to achieve in the next 10 years. Looking ahead we want the issue of multiple needs to be flagged clearly by the politicians, leading to a Green Paper We consulted staff and users of our member organisations on the issue early in the next Parliament. We have worked in the run up to launching the Homeless Link manifesto. The in an alliance with Drugscope, Mind and Clinks to take this message was clear – we all want to set a path that will see our country free from homelessness altogether. To make this into the parties and those preparing their future policies. ambition a reality it is crucial that we take action to raise Mental health problems affect almost a third of homeless homelessness up the political and media agenda. clients and in this issue of Connect we take a look at some of the ways our sector is working with people experiencing Our ten point manifesto ‘Ending homelessness together’ mental health problems. On pages 14-15 Matthew Bawden calls on the next government to take 10 practical steps to from Look Ahead’s Bayswater Hostel, explains how they’re end homelessness. The campaign has been backed by all supporting rough sleepers with low mental health needs three major political parties. The challenge is to make this who would otherwise slip through the net for mental health such an important commitment that it cannot be knocked support. Meanwhile, we look at how CHT’s Home Base off course, regardless of what economic and public programme is supporting homeless ex-military personnel by spending storms lie ahead. offering a range of psychological therapies (page 17). The upcoming election is a unique opportunity to ensure All of the projects we feature in this issue understand that that ending homelessness gets into the forefront of thinking homeless people need more than just a roof over their of the incoming government, whatever its hue... How can we do that? Well, it starts with us - you, me, your colleagues, heads. Most importantly, they believe in the power of people to change. This fundamental understanding and friends and like minded people. It is our responsibility to optimism based on the talents and potential of people who ensure society’s most vulnerable people become visible are homeless has to be in the hearts and minds of all our and important to those leading our country. work to build the campaign to end homelessness. Over the next few weeks you have the opportunity to make sure that the representatives we elect understand the issues Jenny Edwards Chief Executive, Homeless Link that help people move out of homelessness and prevent others falling into it; that they understand what is necessary Homeless Link’s election toolkit is available from: for services to become true places of change and that www.homeless.org.uk/general-election-2010. they meet and listen to people who are homeless and For materials promoting homeless people’s right to vote visit: http://bit.ly/dopolitics understand that they are participating citizens.

in this issue LATEST NEWS

4

COMMENT 10 Steps to end homelessness in a decade Care to share? Homelessness and mental health - key facts!

6 8 9

FEATURES Rethinking homelessness No one left out? A clear view ahead... Filling the gap A primary example... Challenging thoughts

10 12 13 14 16 17

Change is on the horizon A healthy approach Benefiting from experience Partnership matters PSA16 and mental health

18 19 20 21 22

INTERNATIONAL Homelessness Australia: The road home

23

INSPIRED Talking about mental health Growing for gold

24 26

WHAT’S ON

27 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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news

CONNECT | SPRING 2010

latest sector news IT’S BEEN 3 MONTHS SINCE THE LAST ISSUE OF CONNECT. AS ALWAYS, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT GOING ON. HERE’S A SNAPSHOT…

homeless link update:

member news:

EVICTIONS & AMBANDONMENTS CASE STUDIES

ST MUNGO’S opens FAITH LODGE

Homeless Link has released

opened by St Mungo’s and The

new research on evictions and

City of London Corporation to offer

abandonments from hostels.

accommodation to long-term rough

Through interviews with clients and

sleepers, aged between 40 and 65,

staff we found that it is possible to

some of whom may have been on

prevent many of the evictions and

the streets for decades. The first ten

abandonments that take place.

people have moved in, with others

For good practice case studies visit:

currently being referred in through

www.homeless.org.uk/evictions-

outreach workers. www.mungos.

project

org/first_guests_at_lodge

a new look for homeless UK and homeless london

crisis & OSW to merge!

Homeless UK and Homeless London

people, is to merge with Off the

have been redesigned; making it

Streets and Into Work...

even easier to find the information

A ‘FARE SHARE’ FOR LIVERPOOL

http://bit.ly/crisisandosw

FareShare will soon be operating

you’re looking for. Visit: www.homelessuk.org and www.homelesslondon.org

The Lodge is a 40-bed B&B hotel

Crisis, the charity for single homeless

Down To Earth Down to Earth (DTE), a multi-agency allotment and gardening project,

Exterior of St Mungo’s Faith Lodge

from Liverpool in partnership with the housing association Chapter 1. The new depot will receive surplus food from retailers and manufacturers

PLACES OF CHANGE GARDEN

is one of the latest agencies to be

Work is well underway for the Places

involved in the Places of Change

of Change garden - the biggest plot

Garden. Developed by Bradford

to be featured at this years Chelsea

Alliance on Community Care and

Flower Show. To follow the garden’s

the Keyhouse project, DTE is giving

progress and read the experiences

vulnerable people an opportunity to

of those involved visit: www.

cooking up change

develop new skills through a variety

placesofchangegarden.org.uk

In May SIFA Fireside and BSustained

of gardening and art activities.

will launch ChangeKitchen, a new

HOMELESS LINK WELCOMES THE FOLLOWING NEW MEMBERS: CARA, Luther Street Medical Centre, Big issue In the North Trust, Black Country Food Bank, The Clock Tower Sanctuary Day Centre, HAIL, Advocates Incorporate and Choir With No Name.

4

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

and distribute it to local charities. It is anticipated that they will supply food to 50 charities by the end of the 1st year... www.fareshare.org.uk

social enterprise which will provide paid employment to SIFA Fireside’s service users. To find out more visit: www.changekitchen.co.uk


CONNECT | SPRING 2010

news

Whose oragnisation is it anyway? In the first of a regular column Mark Sidney, Chair of the National Advisory Council (NAC), explains the crucial role that the NAC plays in informing the direction of Homeless Link’s work... What is Homeless Link to you? A training provider? Host of a great

Clients from the Down to Earth project

annual conference? An information resource?

GET INVOLVED Fables – a Film Opera by Streetwise Opera

GOING GREEN Homeless Link has signed up to

It is all of the above and so much more. But how do they do it?

Streetwise Opera will be starting

10:10 - a national project working

Although Homeless Link employs

work on their next major production,

to achieve a 10% cut in the UK’s

many talented individuals, the true

Fables, in April and May. Working

carbon emissions in 2010. To find out

genius lies in their awareness that

alongside top film-makers and

more about ‘Green Homeless Link’

collective knowledge is greater

composers, people who’ve

visit: www.homeless.org.uk/green.

than individual knowledge.

experienced homelessness will

To sign up your organisation go to

have the chance to create a film

www.1010uk.org

and soundtrack based on a fable. All homeless and ex-homeless people are invited to sign-up at Streetwise’s weekly workshops that run throughout England. The plan is for Fables to be premiered with a live staging at Spitalfields Winter Festival in December 2010. For more details visit: www.streetwiseopera.org

As a network, the constant flow of information from members

VIDEOS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS

makes Homeless Link what it is. As

Have you captured your work on

members, our voice, knowledge

film? Have you recorded a project

and wisdom have a huge role to

or have your clients made their

play.

own video? Email mike.wilson@ homelesslink.org.uk and we’ll add it to Homeless Link’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/homelesslink

The National Advisory Council embodies this philosophy. Four times a year, senior individuals from member organisations meet to

MICHAEL WHIPPMAN CLIENT

inform the work of Homeless Link.

INVOLVEMENT AWARD 2010

And at all times, the NAC exists to

Some of the latest sector news

For this year’s awards we are looking

give every member in every region

we’ve been tweeting about:

for new, or existing, successful social

a voice at the heart of the fight to

enterprises that have had a positive

end homelessness. So be proactive.

impact on their society and local

Know your regional rep and use

environment. Most importantly,

them: the NAC is there for you.

tweet. tweet.

How fair is health care? http://bit.ly/dpVC5r New stats show a 72% reduction in homelessness http://bit.ly/cFlLlp Crisis and St Mungo’s form new ‘Strategic Alliance’ http://good.ly/22iyq www.twitter.com/homelesslink

we are looking for enterprises that promote inclusion, partnership and ownership and that have benefited

Mark Sidney, The Cyrenians Chair, National Advisory Council

the lives of the homeless people who have been involved with them.

To find out more about the NAC

Now open for entries - visit:

visit: www.homeless.org.uk/

www.homeless.org.uk/ client-involvement-award

national-advisory-council

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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COMMENT

CONNECT | SPRING 2010

10 STEPS TO END HOMELESSNESS IN A DECADE Jacqui McCluskey, Director of Policy and Knowledge at Homeless Link, talks about the development of the Homeless Link manifesto that was launched in Westminster in early February with support from the three main political parties.

Back in November 2009, just after I joined Homeless Link, I was delighted to visit member organisations across the country to find out what they felt the next government ought to prioritise if we are to end homelessness once and for all. Members also fed in their views online and sent in case studies of the positive impact projects have made on moving people on from homelessness. Importantly, I also ran a series of focus groups with people with experience of homelessness to get their views on what they think would make the most difference to ending homelessness. The final product – Ending Homelessness Together: 10 years, 10 Steps, 1 ambition - sets out 10 practical steps to achieve the challenging ambition of ending homelessness in the next 10 years. manifesto launch On 2nd February we launched our manifesto in Westminster. The event was attended by more than 150 representatives from the House of Commons, House of Lords, homelessness charities and Local Authorities, as well as Senior Civil Servants, Prospective Parliamentary

Jenny Edwards with Ian Austin MP; signing a poster stating, ‘I want to end homelessness’. Photo Robert Davidson

Jenny Edwards, our Chief Executive, opened the event, acknowledging the huge amount of work that still needs to be done, whilst emphasising the proven track record of the success of our sector. “We will not allow the most vulnerable in our society to be invisible. We want to see a Green Paper that will tackle the deep social exclusion of people with multiple needs – Jenny Edwards”.

Candidates and journalists. Ian Austin MP, Parliamentary

Jenny’s comments were supported by an inspirational

Undersecretary of State, Department for Communities and

speech from Martyn Warr, Learning and Development

Local Government, Caroline Spelman MP, Conservative

apprentice at homelessness charity St Mungo’s who,

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local

as recently as three years ago was sleeping rough on

Government and Julia Goldsworthy MP, Liberal Democrat

London’s streets. Martyn was one of the first successful

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities spoke at

applicants to St Mungo’s new Apprenticeship scheme,

the event with great commitment and support for our

launched last year, and now works full-time for the charity

document.

at its client and staff training base in Southwark.

6

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CONNECT | SPRING 2010

COMMENT

Left: Martyn Warr delivered an inspirational speech. Above: The Choir with No Name performing. Photos Robert Davidson

Ian Austin MP said, “Everyone has the right to decent, affordable home – it is a basic human right. We must put housing and homelessness at the centre of the election and end the scandal of homelessness for good for the first

10 STEPS TO END HOMELESSNESS 1.

Build on the ambition to end rough sleeping in

our country by 2012

Caroline Spelman MP said, “The report charts a very

2.

Develop a national picture of 21st century

important direction of travel… Homelessness is a cross-

homelessness and create the strategy to tackle it

3.

Ensure a well promoted, effective and

welcoming Housing Options and Advice

time in history.”

cutting issue. Government is constructed in silos. We must puncture holes in the silos if we are to be effective in addressing multiple needs.” Julia Goldsworthy MP said, “Homelessness is very

Service for all who need it in every area 4.

Prevent homelessness during life transitions e.g.

leaving care or discharge from hospital, prison

and the armed forces

The event culminated with an uplifting performance from

5.

Ensure that no one is left destitute and

the amazing Choir with No Name.

excluded from basic support in 21st century

complex. It is important we have an ambitious pledge that we can work to.”

We have now sent our manifesto to all Prospective

Britain

Parliamentary Candidates and have received some

6.

Tackle the deep social exclusion of people with

great feedback from individuals backing our campaign.

multiple needs

Get Involved...

7.

Deliver top class access for homeless people

to the right mental health, drug and alcohol

will take place on Thursday 6th May 2010. It will ultimately

support

be fought at a local level, since candidates’ policy

8.

Build on the sector’s Places of Change

priorities will be based on the concerns and opinions

approach by extending support for positive

expressed by their local constituents. Contacting local

activities, learning, skills and employment

9.

Reform how housing benefit, tax and other

benefits work to support the journey into work

and prevent homelessness

At time of writing it is most likely that the General Election

politicians can make a real difference. We urge members to use the manifesto as an advocacy tool and to raise awareness of homelessness issues in your constituency. To help ensure homelessness is on the agenda of all the political parties and is a priority for the next Government,

10. Increase housing supply and make better use

Homeless Link has published an Election Campaign

of existing accommodation, halve the number

Toolkit with practical support and ideas. You can

of empty homes and strengthen the offer of the

download the toolkit from our website:

private rented sector.

www.homeless.org.uk/general-election-2010 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

7


COMMENT

CONNECT | SPRING 2010

care to share? Gill Brown, CEO at Brighter Futures, argues the case for commissioners to see self-contained housing as the first option for homeless people moving on from hostels… Brighter Futures began developing community based housing in 1987, to provide a stepping stone between the hostel and independence. Only shared housing was considered as funding was not available for selfcontained accommodation. We offered both the housing and support but, very early on, problems began to emerge around the supervision of the property, customer and staff safety and strained relationships between customers that were living together. These problems continued over the next 18 months so, in the mid 1990’s, we reduced the size of our shared housing from four bed to two bed properties. Unfortunately this did not solve the problem of conflict amongst strangers forced into sharing.

BENEFITS:

Offering self-contained accommodation has proved beneficial for our customers, commissioners and the wider community… Benefits to customers

8

In 2005 we met with our hostel customers and, based on their feedback, we decided to move away from shared to self-contained accommodation. We came to an agreement with Supporting People that bed spaces would be prioritised for those leaving hostels. We also reduced our role as a managing agent; allowing other registered social landlords to take on this responsibility. In 2006 we opened six one bed flats, which proved extremely popular. Since then we’ve greatly increased the number of properties we own and now have 32 self-contained units... Put simply we have found that self-contained housing is a solution where shared accommodation was often part of the problem. This article was taken from the Brighter Futures report ‘Creative Solutions for move on housing’. To find out more about Brighter Futures or to download a more detailed copy of the report please visit: www.brighter-futures.org.uk

Benefits for commissioners •

Support costs are reduced in real terms

More Supporting People outcomes are

achieved for individuals

More LAA national indicators are met at lower

costs

Reduced levels of anti-social behaviour

Fewer people go back to rough sleeping.

Planned move on has improved

Abandonments and evictions have reduced

The quality of accommodation has improved

financial benefits:

We can accommodate people with more

A greater rental income as the number of units

complex needs

has increased and void rates have dropped

Customers are becoming less indebted

Reduced staffing costs due to an increased staff

A greater emphasis is placed on customer’s

to tenant ratio

support plans and helping them to become

Maintenance costs are given at actual prices -

more independent as less time is spent on

the cost is lower regardless of inflation.

property damage, lettings and tenant disputes.

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK


CONNECT | SPRING 2010

COMMENT

HOMELESSNESS & MENTAL HEALTH Elizabeth Schertler, Research Manager at Homeless Link, shares some of the findings from our latest Survey of Needs and Provision (SNAP) to highlight the close link between homelessness and mental health.

SNAP provides an updated picture of the needs of single homeless people and the service provision they receive. It identifies changes occurring in the homelessness sector in England; allowing service providers, local

91%

“Nobody wants to take responsibility for some patients who need help.

of projects reported that

They are constantly passed

at least some of the clients

from service to service.”

accessing their services had

authorities, commissioners and policy makers to see where services fit into the national picture. SNAP is now in its third year and the most recent report was published in March 2010. To collect the data for

mental health problems, but only 17% of these projects

“They might get treated at a mental health institute but

specifically target services

then they are released straight

at this group of people.

onto the street. So then it’s down to us to try helping them.”

the latest SNAP report we surveyed 500 projects, including day centres, direct access hostels and 2nd stage accommodation projects. The final report provides key evidence on the characteristics of homeless people and their service needs.

57

%

18 per

Since 2008 there has been an 18% increase in service availability, overall, for mental

cent health services.

Here, we highlight some of the findings for one particular group of homeless people - those with mental health issues. To download the full report visit: www.homeless.org.uk/snap-2010

57% of the projects

16%

that can access

no funds from Health agencies such as NHS

mental health

motivation as

services reported

the problem

accessing them...

deliver CMHT services day centres receive

reported client

having problems in

16% of day centres in-house but 57% of

33%

3%

Trusts or Primary Care

3% of hostels deliver

Trusts.

CMHT services in-house

62%

reported that external services were inadequate

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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COMMENT FEATURES

CONNECT | SPRING SPRING2010 2010

Rethinking homelessness Paul Anderson, Homeless Link’s Head of London, explains why mental health services that are able to support homeless people need to be just as common as the mental health problems that impact on this group. In 1998, when working for Crisis, I gate crashed a mental health training course that was being run for doctors who were planning to volunteer at the Crisis Open Christmas. Having worked in the sector for a number of years, I was not really expecting to learn anything new, but I was particularly interested in hearing the medical professionals’ perspective. It was the trainer, however,

in getting mental health support when they need it. A number of key themes and challenges emerged from the interviews: •

Access to services - There still seems to be an

element of post-code lottery in terms of access.

Where there are no specialist services in place,

access tends to rely mainly upon a positive

relationship with a single local GP who understands

the needs of homeless people and is willing to

make referrals to statutory mental health services.

Where this type of relationship does not exist there

is a genuine fear that clients will only be able to get

help when in crisis

street”. Whilst he was being deliberately provocative,

Dual diagnosis - Some mental health services

12 years later the link between mental health and

appear to be unable or unwilling to assess and

homelessness remains as stark as ever.

work with clients who regularly use alcohol and/

or illegal drugs. Yet, 60% of St Mungo’s clients

surveyed have both mental health and substance

misuse issues; clearly identifying a need for mental

health services that can work with this client group

often steeped in insecurity, social exclusion and a daily

Non-engagement - Hostels often feel unqualified

struggle to survive. Mental health problems amongst

to work with extremely vulnerable people with

homeless people are not just a result of rough sleeping;

complex support needs. In particular, a number of

they are also a major feeder route into homelessness

challenges arose when trying to take support

in the first place. It is no coincidence that some of the

forward for clients that didn’t recognise or accept

most stressful life events a person can experience, such

that they had a mental health issue.

who caught my attention when he opened the session with the bold statement, “madness is normal on the

Last year St Mungo’s Client Needs Survey found that 69% of their hostel clients who were former rough sleepers had some form of mental health problem. This is not surprising when you consider that street homelessness is

as a job loss or the breakdown of a close relationship, are also amongst some of the most frequent reasons

These findings highlight the need for extra support,

that people become homeless.

training and information to front-line hostel staff. Perhaps

Bridging the gap Recently my colleague Jessica Plant and I have been

we could imitate some statutory mental health services who have adopted a package of user led training.

involved in a project, funded by The City Bridge Trust,

Leading the way

which aims to look at and improve access to mental

Whilst our work for the City Bridge Project has identified

health services for individuals in hostels. The first stage

areas for improvement, we also came across some

of the project has been to conduct interviews with

excellent examples of homelessness agencies working

clients and workers to discuss the obstacles they face

in partnership with mental health services. For example,

10

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CONNECT | SPRING 2010

FEATURES

Clients and staff from Faith Lodge, St George’s Crypt, visited the Eden Project to make plans and take inspiration for their contribution to the Places of Change Garden. Photo Robert Davidson

one hostel provider insists on new staff spending a day

with others. Our part in the Making Every Adult Matter

with the local Community Mental Health Team as part of

Coalition (page 21) means we have regular contact

their induction to increase mutual understanding.

with the national mental health charity MIND who, with

Many homeless services have also been innovative in providing activities, such as sport, music and gardening, which can help to foster good mental health. The benefits of meaningful activities, such as these, were highlighted on a national scale last year with the positive results that came out of the Key Garden project (page 26). Over 300 homeless people are involved in this year’s Places of Change Garden; providing plenty of opportunities for meaningful activity! What’s next? The next stage of the City Bridge Project will be to work

DrugScope and Clinks, we are working alongside to address the multiple exclusion of vulnerable people. Our Policy Team has also been developing a Homeless Health Audit Tool in partnership with the Department of Health (page 18). Furthermore the London Delivery Board, which Homeless Link is a member of, has identified mental health as a key area in its action plan to end rough sleeping. In short, Homeless Link’s manifesto sums it up when it states ‘top class access to mental health support’ as one of the ten steps needed to end homelessness.

with some of the hostels that took part in the research,

To make this a reality there needs to be a greater

over the course of a year, to help them develop the

understanding between mental health and

way they support clients with mental health problems.

homelessness services of the challenges each face.

By the end of the project we will have produced an

Meanwhile, no stone should stay unturned to ensure that

‘Influencing Paper’, detailing how mental health services

the real experts, the clients, are empowered to input

for hostel clients can be improved, and a web portal

into discussions about what works for them and to help

to share our learning with the wider homelessness

define future priorities.

community. Mental health is a regular component in Homeless Link’s work, especially when working in partnership

To find out more mental health and homelessness visit: www.homeless.org.uk/mentalhealth

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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FEATURES

CONNECT | SPRING 2010

no one left out? Those working with homeless people will be fully aware of the mental ill health issues that many clients experience. Peter Cockersell, Director of Programmes at St Mungo’s, tells us what they’re doing to highlight the issue and provide the right support to their clients.

Our recent report Happiness Matters was the result of working closely with Outside In, our independent client organisation. Twelve of our clients undertook peer research into people’s experiences of mental ill health and mental health services. Happiness Matters enabled

A St Mungo’s hostel resident takes part in an activity session. Photo St Mungo’s

us to dig deeper into people’s experiences. We found that although 80% of respondents had been in contact

particular problems homeless people face, and the need

with mental health services, the majority were not

for new models of work with people with complex needs/

receiving any treatment. Secondly, when these people

dual diagnosis.

sought help for their mental health they were offered help with their alcohol and drug use instead.

We have also worked to improve our own services;

Happiness Matters was part of St Mungo’s contribution

difference. One is a residential dual diagnosis service

to a major Call for Evidence on mental health and street

which incorporates a psychotherapist in the core team. In

homelessness that we issued last spring. We had 90

almost three years there have been no re-hospitalisations

responses from a wide range of organisations around

and 17 out of 18 departures have been sustained moves

the country, which were collated by an independent

into less supported or independent accommodation.

editor and published in the report, ‘Down and Out?’

The other is a psychotherapy service, Lifeworks, that

The research highlighted a consensus around the lack

works with people with complex needs including those

of mental health support available to homeless people

with personality disorders and substance misuse. 75%

with respondents consistently reporting that their clients:

of clients have reported improvements in wellbeing and

piloting two projects which we know have made a

these have been confirmed by significantly improved

1.

fell/had fallen through gaps in services

2.

had substance use problems and could not get

to psychological therapy for these clients, 30% of referrals

any treatment for their mental health problems

to Lifeworks now come from statutory services.

3.

were unable to access mental health service

Mental health problems lie at the root of most chronic

because they did not meet the right criteria

homelessness. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of

4.

were excluded because of their behaviours

willingness to take responsibility for these clients by

(actually symptoms of their mental ill health).

All is not doom and gloom, however. The Government’s

Outcomes Star scores. Highlighting the scarcity of access

statutory services. If the aim is ‘no one left out’, we really have to address this.

new ten-year mental health strategy New Horizons (see

To find out more about St Mungo’s and to download

page 18) has, after much lobbying, highlighted the

copies of the reports featured visit: www.mungos.org

12

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK


CONNECT | SPRING 2010

FEATURES

A Clear view ahead Shirley Bowler, Support Manager at ECHG in Hull, explains how an innovative partnership is helping to change the lives of homeless people with multiple support needs. Clear-view is a dial diagnosis supported housing project which provides 24-hour support for fourteen men and women who are committed to becoming and staying free of drugs. The project is unique in the UK as it supports people who have both a mental illness and a substance misuse problem. While there are day centres offering support to this client group, Clear-view is the only residential service specifically set-up to support dual diagnosed clients. The project, which began in 2006, is the result of a partnership between ECHG, Hull City Council, Hull Supporting People, Hull City Safe and the Housing

Residents and staff from ECHG and the Clear-view project in Hull. Photo ECHG

Corporation. The need for Clear-view was identified during the development of Hull’s homelessness strategy. Due to the uniqueness of the service, staff have had to

prepare for education and employment.

think on their feet and learn what works by trial and error

Staff maximise all opportunities to make links with other

and through regular resident feedback.

services in Hull, particularly mental health and drug treatment services. They also support family and friends

Accessing the service Residents are referred to Clear-view by doctors, social workers, drug treatment centres, mental health services and hostels across the city. Once someone has been accepted onto the waiting list they are encouraged to access pre-tenancy support. This helps residents to get off to a good start when they move in as they’ve already met staff and know what to expect. This process greatly reduces the chances of clients dropping out of the system and all we ask of residents is for a commitment to remain drug-free.

Supporting each other Every resident must attend 5 group meetings a week. These meetings are opportunities for residents to share how they are getting on with their process of staying clean, and hear how others are managing. As residents set the rules for these daily group sessions they have a sense of ownership over the process.

When residents move in they are provided with fully

a resident of another ECHG project, and has followed a

furnished and equipped apartments complete with their

successful path of stopping his addiction, volunteering as

own kitchens and bathrooms. They are supported to

a peer mentor, and then training as a social worker. He

connections in Clear-view.

Peer support and role models are an important element of residents’ recovery. One member of staff used to be

cook healthy meals and are encouraged to take regular

successfully applied for a post at Clear-View and is a real

exercise to boost their sense of well-being. Residents

life example, to our residents, of what can be achieved

also have the opportunity to gain ICT skills to help them

with the right support and perseverance. WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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FEATURES

CONNECT | SPRING 2010

Filling the gap

Matthew Bawden, Team Leader at Look Ahead’s Bayswater Hostel, shares their innovative approach to supporting rough sleepers whose low-level mental health needs fall below the criteria set for Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT)

Almost a year ago Look Ahead’s Bayswater Hostel

There are four key ‘pillars’ that our support work rests

began providing a service in Westminster for rough

upon, providing a strong, coherent foundation for

sleepers with low levels of mental health problems.

enabling our customers to achieve their social and

Traditionally, these people are excluded from specialist

emotional aspirations. These are: Positive identity; stable

mental health services due to a lack of formal diagnosis,

relationships; healthy, wealthy and wise; and home and

difficulties engaging with statutory mental health teams

community.

or drug and alcohol use.

Working with small groups of four to five customers

Formally a medium support hostel for rough

enables staff to provide a high level of support when

sleepers aged 18-30, Bayswater underwent a major

needed. Staff have had specialist training in mental

transformation in 2008, largely due to its success at

health and capacity law, personality disorder and dual

reducing the numbers of young people sleeping rough in

diagnosis, self-harm, motivational interviewing, Cognitive

the area. The new service set out to fill the gap in service

Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and recovery model training.

provision, which was identified in Westminster’s Rough Sleeping Strategy 2007-10 and backed up by anecdotal evidence from the borough’s Building Based Services. The service offers a safe and tranquil environment for those rough sleepers who don’t typically thrive in general hostel environments due to their increased vulnerability. It aims to support customers who do not have access to

Challenges One of the major challenges has been providing support to clients with mental health issues, without necessarily having access to the clinical expertise of statutory mental health services. This has meant: •

Developing good links with local GPs who have

in-house psychologists

Sign-posting customers to non-statutory services

such as Westminster Mind

Positive Pathways, which shifts emphasis from a

Training staff within the hostel to provide

customer’s support needs to consider the many different

interventions such as CBT and solution focused

aspects that make up a person’s life. It understands that

therapy

as a basis to make significant progress on the journey

Linking up with the Joint Homeless Team (JHT),

to greater independence. One customer recently

South Paddington CMHT, Community Outreach

mental health beds, with referral rights belonging to front line homelessness workers. Positive Pathways Bayswater Hostel has adopted an approach called

a customer’s own strengths and abilities can be utilised

described this approach as effective because he was

Rehabilitation Team (CORT) and the Waterview

receiving ‘help from all angles.’

Clinic

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CONNECT | SPRING 2010

FEATURES

Promoting the benefits of healthy living through

partnerships with British Military Fitness and Street

league

Sharing good practice with other Look Ahead

mental health services across 26 boroughs.

Avoiding abandonment Our customers often have a history of abandoning larger rough sleeping hostels. To avoid this we have found the following to be extremely important: •

Providing a safe, homely environment with soft

furnishings. The traditional hostel canteen is in the

process of being transformed into a café

Developing a personalisation agenda whereby

customers have a say in how their service charge

is spent. We have a customer led steering group for

the catering budget

A focus on maximising income and ensuring

continuity of benefits

Promoting a customer’s right to complain and

Ensuring, where possible, that potential customers

supporting them in doing so.

are assessed by the Joint Homelessness Team

before entering our service

87% of mental health service users have reported the

Meeting regularly with the local CMHT to ensure

negative effects of stigma and discrimination on their

good joint working where there is a change in

lives1. Attempts have been made to remove this barrier

need

Making sure staff are trained to recognise early

warning signs and other mental health symptoms

Tackling stigma

Look Ahead customers took part in the Time To Change Football tournament. Photo Look Ahead

maintaining a quiet, unthreatening environment for those with lower mental health issues has proved tricky at times, but we’ve attempted to overcome this by:

by: •

Offering a wide range of informal activities

including cookery, gardening, drama and music

sessions which have encouraged many of our

Despite these challenges the service has received

customers to engage in formal volunteering and

a positive response from stakeholders and, more

college courses

importantly, the service is offering support to some of

Customers took part in a football tournament

organised by Islington PCT in partnership with

society’s most vulnerable people whose mental health needs could otherwise be overlooked.

Time To Change, the mental health anti-stigma

organisation

Customers at Bayswater have led on the design of

a zone in the Places of Change garden, which will

be featured at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. This

has given customers an opportunity to achieve a

formal horticultural qualification.

The right balance

“A year on we think Bayswater has been successful in filling the gap and the team has embraced the challenge, both in terms of gaining new skills and linking up with specialist agencies for advice and support”. Victoria Van Der Knapp, Deputy Rough Sleeping Manager at Westminster City Council.

No one’s mental health is static and we often work with clients who have much higher mental health needs than the service was designed to provide. Achieving a balance where we can support these people, whilst

1. Time to Change (2008) Stigma Shout: Service user and carer experiences of stigma and discrimination, Time to Change, p.6-7

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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CONNECT | SPRING 2010

a primary example of care Dr Angela Jones was Specialist Adviser to CLG on Health and Homelessness until 2008 and is now a GP working with homeless people in Westminster. She shares her experience in getting mental health services to engage with rough sleepers...

As a GP working with both homeless people and the

5.

A cooperative secondary mental health service

general public, I can confirm that it can sometimes be

with willingness and capacity to support the

very difficult to obtain mental health services for my

frontline staff, aiding them in diagnosing and

patients, regardless of their housing status. It becomes

managing the client’s mental health problems.

even more difficult if there are associated factors such as lack of an address or if the patient also has physical ill

The first three items on this list can all be provided within

health or substance use problems.

primary care. Increasing numbers of GPs are involved

Why is this? To make a clear psychiatric diagnosis, the mental health practitioner needs to be sure that there is no other cause for the person’s condition. This can be very difficult, if not impossible, to establish in a one-off snapshot assessment. Unfortunately, very few mental health services are set up to assess patients over a longer period of time, unless they have been admitted to hospital. THE BIG FIVE In order for a homeless person with mental health problems to receive a good and timely service, five things are needed:

and skilled in the shared care of substance and alcohol misuse. Furthermore, GPs are bound by their terms of service to visit registered patients in their homes if there is a clinical need. Many (though not all) GPs would interpret this as visiting their rough sleeping patients on the street or in their hostel if, for some reason, the person were not willing or able to come to the surgery. This means that medical outreach is a definite option and we need to encourage this kind of engagement from primary care. If you look hard enough, there is probably a GP in every area who has a ‘heart’ for this work and who could be persuaded to engage with homeless people, especially if they are able to work alongside a

1.

A frontline clinician who can engage with the client

support worker who will sort out the

over a period of time, assess the overall situation and

practicalities of benefit claims,

perform a preliminary mental health examination

housing applications etc. As

2.

Access to substance misuse services who are used

to dealing with rough sleepers and people with

co- existing mental health problems

3.

Access to care for any physical health problems that

to act as a powerful

the client may have

advocate to the local

4.

Access to a frontline support worker with an

understanding of mental health issues to work with

the client, in partnership with the clinician

A resident from ECHG’s King George’s Hostel in London. Photo Robert Davidson

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well as providing physical health care and enabling access to addiction treatment, a GP is able

psychiatric services and hopefully obtain the help that client needs to get well and make progress.


CONNECT | SPRING 2010

FEATURES

Challenging thoughts Beatriz Sanchez and Cristina Vergara at Community Housing and Therapy (CHT) discuss how psychological support is helping to prevent traumatised ex-service men and women from living a life on the streets. Each year CHT delivers psychological therapies to

any earlier experiences of trauma, especially those in

around 35 homeless ex-military personnel in its Home

early childhood.

Base programme. Those referred to the programme have become homeless partly as a result of the psychological problems they experience. Many suffer from complex trauma, depression or anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A number have a diagnosed personality disorder. These problems are frequently exacerbated by alcohol or drug abuse, unemployment and inadequate life skills.

Psychological support Home Base uses a dispersed housing model to test people’s ability to live independently, whilst in a peer supported environment. Although service users don’t live in shared accommodation, they still feel part of a supportive network. Emphasis is also placed on building links within the wider community to prevent people from

We also offer weekly individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy sessions to help people understand the repressed conflicts that are the source of problems. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is used to influence problematic thoughts and patterns of behaviour and also help service users to develop communication skills - particularly effective for people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Finally, the programme places a strong emphasis on training for work. This aspect of the programme is run in partnership with Training for Life, Transitional Spaces and other organisations that arrange courses and placements for homeless people and former members of the Armed Services.

feeling socially isolated in the future. The Home Base programme comprises of four distinct,

Tips for supporting homeless people with

but interrelated treatment interventions. Firstly, the

mental health problems:

programme stresses membership of a community, and

Help service users and staff develop trusting

psychological problems, rather than focusing solely on

and meaningful relationships by providing a

safe environment which encourages personal

the individual. The community structure encourages

experiences to be explored

responsibility and decision making to be shared, building

Empower service users by encouraging them

upon members’ experiences of solidarity with comrades

to help each other and share their

whilst giving them the necessary skills to live outside the

experiences in peer support groups

military.

Provide staff with regular reflective support

groups and clinical supervision

Assist service users to create a peer network to

help achieve and maintain social inclusion

Develop links with the local community - GPs,

training, employment and housing agencies.

focuses on the interpersonal and social background of

All of our staff are trained psychologists and are enrolled in CHT’s Post Graduate diploma in psychotherapy which is delivered to service users through weekly group sessions. The aim is to enable people to understand traumatic experiences from their military service, and link these with

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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CONNECT | SPRING 2010

change is on the horizon

This year’s SNAP report by Homeless Link found that 55% of homelessness agencies report having problems accessing mental health services. Susan O’Connor from the Department of Health tells us how the recommendations set out in the New Horizons strategy aim to change this…

The publication of New Horizons in December 2009

for services. This is best achieved through local care

came at a time of growing understanding of the social,

networks that bring primary, secondary and mental

physical and psychological consequences of mental

health care providers together with housing and

illness and the cross sector approaches needed to

homelessness agencies. The focus of these networks

make a difference. As a result, New Horizons is not a

needs to be on prevention and recovery as well as

health policy; it is a cross government strategy. It sets

stabilisation of current needs.

out a dual programme of action to improve mental health services and strengthen the mental health and well-being of the whole population.

What else is being done? The Department of Health has funded Homeless link to undertake a project to improve homeless people’s

Mental Health and homelessness

access to health care; resulting in the development of

The inequalities associated with mental health are well

an audit tool to help homelessness agencies evidence

known; disparities in the access and experience of

the health needs of their clients (see next page).

mental health care and the discrimination that arises from having mental health problems. Homeless people were identified in the New Horizon’s strategy as one of the groups that have higher rates of mental health problems, but are less well engaged with mental health services. New Horizons states: Some people who are homeless also experience multiple social exclusion and socially excluding behaviours. These people may find it difficult to engage with, or may not readily be engaged by, services. People with chaotic life styles often have mental health and substance misuse problems and/or a personality disorder. Their life style and dual or triple

We have also been working with the Social Exclusion Task Force on the ‘Inclusion Health’ project, which looks at how we can improve the way primary healthcare needs of socially excluded people are met. The Inclusion Health report addresses the specific challenges of working with vulnerable groups and provides a framework to better meet their health needs. Healthcare support for homeless people needs to be provided in ways and environments that do not stigmatise or lock them into services and treatments. Support for vulnerable people should facilitate, rather than prevent, a return to mainstream services.

diagnosis means their needs may not fit neatly into current, siloed service provision. Support for people who need it most

find out more...

New Horizons emphasises the requirement for all mental

To find out more and download

health services to provide equal access and outcomes

a copy of New Horizons visit

for all groups in society. To ensure this happens we

www.dh.gov.uk/newhorizons

recommend a move towards coordinated treatment that is based on need rather than ‘acceptance criteria’

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CONNECT | SPRING 2010

FEATURES

a healthy approach Helen Mathie, Homeless Link’s Policy Project Manager, explains why evidencing the health needs of homeless people is key to getting their voices heard by commissioners…

works. It also provides data about dual diagnosis and suggests what the gaps are in current provision. We are currently piloting the audit tool in nine areas across the country and are delighted that the tool was

This years’ SNAP research found that 91% of

referenced in the New Horizons mental health strategy.

homelessness projects work with clients who have a

This will hopefully encourage more areas to include

mental health need. Dig a little deeper and the picture

homeless people in their needs assessments, and ensure

becomes far more complex and evidencing it can be

that their views are incorporated into commissioning.

extremely challenging. Data about homeless people’s health is seldom Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). This makes it difficult to

Case Study:

identify and inform services how they need to change.

Yorkshire and Humberside pilot

collected, and where it is, it can be inconsistent across

As the commissioning and delivery of health services is increasingly driven at a local level, being able to collect and evidence local need is crucial. The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment requires PCTs and local authorities to assess their community’s health and well being but, in many areas, the health of homeless people rarely features. Our Health Needs Audit tool, funded by the Department of Health, aims to address this issue by making it easier to gather data about clients’ health and their use of services. Based directly on information provided by the client, the audit tool generates a detailed analysis that commissioners, support agencies and the local authority can use to better plan for and target health services in their area.

In Leeds, 125 clients from a range of homelessness projects took part in the audit. Leeds City Council, St Anne’s Community Services and NHS Leeds worked in partnership to oversee the process and shape the questions in the audit to ensure it met everybody’s needs. They are now taking action to take their findings forward. Jane Williams, Strategic Development Manager for NHS Leeds, said: “such information is vital for local commissioners to review how well services are connected on the ground, what out-ofhours demands are being made, and the actual experience of individuals. The development of this tool is very welcome, especially at a time when we all need to look at the best use of our combined resources.”

With mental health, the tool looks at both diagnosed mental health conditions and those that may never have been formally addressed. It tells us about

To find out more about this project visit:

engagement with services, and how far clients feel this

www.homeless.org.uk/health-needs-audit WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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FEATURES

CONNECT | SPRING 2010

learning from experience Kate Shore, from Revolving Doors, looks at some of the recommendations made in the ‘Bradley Review’ and at ensuring service users’ views get heard Last April Lord Bradley published a report on people with mental health problems and learning disabilities in the criminal justice system. The report focused on the support and interventions available to people coming into the criminal justice system with the full range of mental health problems, including those diagnosed with both a mental health and substance use problem. The report followed an in-depth review to which Revolving Doors, and a wide range of other third sector agencies, were invited to contribute their experience. Lord Bradley also visited a number of projects already offering effective support such as the Neighbourhood Link Worker scheme in Islington, which we run in partnership with St Mungo’s.

Two clients from Revolving Doors National Service Users Forum. Photo Revolving Doors

Letting service users have a say One Government minister who has already taken at least one service user’s experiences on board is Phil Hope, the care services minister. Members of our service user forum were involved in a piece of research contributing to the MEAM manifesto that was presented to the major political parties at their party conferences in autumn. At

The overall aim of the review was to look at ways that

the time, Danny, one of our members, spoke about some

people in the criminal justice system with mental health

of his experiences and his story was later referred to by

problems and learning disabilities could and should be

Phil Hope, in his own conference speech.

offered treatment and support at every stage of the criminal justice pathway. Following the review, Lord Bradley made 82 recommendations for improvements, some relating specifically to service user involvement. Recommendations into action Most of the recommendations made by Lord Bradley have since been accepted by the Government and are

It is crucial that service users are given every opportunity to get their message across. At Revolving Doors we will continue to seek out every platform for them to do so, and to see that some of the very positive steps being proposed by the Government are transformed into practice – by whichever government that happens to be, come June.

addressed in detail in their Improving Health, Supporting Justice strategy. Their first step has been to set up a cross departmental national programme board to put the recommendations into practice. The board is supported by a National Advisory Group (NAG), made up of agencies that provide services to the client group

Revolving Doors works to improve the lives of people who find themselves caught in the ‘revolving door’ between crisis and crime. For more information visit: www.revolving-doors.org.uk

covered by the review. We will use our place on the NAG

You can download a copy of Lord Bradley’s review

to represent our own group’s needs and ensure that their

at: http://bit.ly/bradleyreview

views are heard.

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CONNECT | SPRING 2010

INSPIRED

Partnership matters! Paul Farmer, Chief Executive at Mind, emphasises the need for partnership working between mental health and homelessness agencies to enable them to support clients that require both of their services The close connection between mental health problems and homelessness cannot be underestimated. A third of rough sleepers already have a mental health diagnosis when they become homeless and for those who live on the streets developing mental distress, such as anxiety and depression, is almost inevitable. Unfortunately, the services available to help people deal with these multiple needs are not so closely intertwined. Most health services are set up to deal with people’s needs in isolation, but our lives don’t work in such a black and white way. Mental health problems can often be underpinned by all kinds of other complex needs, whether it is housing problems, substance misuse or money worries. Healthcare staff, however, are not necessarily trained to

A message hanging on Mind’s ‘Tree of life’ at their Ecominds campaign launch. Photo Mind.

identify or deal with these other issues; leaving people unsupported and passed from pillar to post. Agencies need to work together in a co-ordinated fashion, sharing information and being able to refer seamlessly between services. Care also needs to be able to reach out as not everyone is willing or able to engage. Support is far more effective when it is available when people need it the most and from places they frequently visit. Keeping

MAKING Every Adult Matter... The Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition exists to improve policy and practice for people facing multiple needs and exclusions.

numerous, isolated appointments at rigid times can be

Formed by Clinks, DrugScope, Homeless Link and

incredibly difficult when you have so many other issues to

Mind, MEAM has recently published a four point

contend with.

manifesto for government on tackling multiple

Mind believes in encouraging partnership working which is why we’re pleased to be part of the Making Every

needs and exclusions and is promoting this to politicians in advance of the general election.

Adult Matter coalition, fighting for a more co-ordinated

MEAM is also committed to working with members

approach to support adults who have multiple needs.

to further develop services for people facing

As society starts to take mental health more seriously as an issue, it’s vital that the most vulnerable people are not

multiple needs and exclusions and is hoping to work in a number of local areas later this year.

forgotten. It’s crucial that people and their needs are seen

For more information please see www.meam.org.uk

as a whole and that support services respond to them as

or contact Oliver Hilbery oliver.hilbery@meam.org.uk

such. WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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TACKLING SOCIAL EXCLUSION TOGETHER Alice Evans, Head of Policy Analysis at Homeless Link, looks at the London Region’s response to the Cabinet Office’s request to refresh local and regional delivery to improve PSA 16 outcomes by March 2011. Background PSA 16 aims to support the most socially excluded groups into settled accommodation and education, training and employment. The target client groups are •

Adults using secondary mental health services

Adults with moderate or severe learning disabilities

Care leavers aged 19, and

Adult offenders under probation supervision

Although the Cabinet Office has the overall responsibility for the delivery, PSA16 is the only agreement owned by several departments, reflecting the cross-cutting nature of both the challenge and the likely solutions.

© Robert Davidson

CONNECT | SPRING 2010

A cross cutting delivery plan is in place for the period concerned. Its objectives are to ensure improved housing and employment outcomes for all the PSA16 clients groups are realised. It requires that local projects funded through the programme are supported and led by the LSP rather than individual partners, and has developed regional priority work streams to focus on cross-cutting change rather than individual client groups or separate housing or employment work streams. This has meant that homelessness is recognised and included within actions. Local projects Amongst other key activities, 10 LSP-led locality projects have been selected and 10 regional partnership projects across London have been secured. The projects were selected for their innovation, sustainability, the strength of their partnership and the robustness of their outcomes, as well as to ensure a spread across inner and outer London, across housing and

The objectives of PSA 16 are relatively clear and

employment, and across all the PSA 16 client groups.

simple; however the operating context is complex and

Funding allocated for projects ranges from £75k to £100k

challenging.

which enables, and requires, a significant impact.

How it works in London

By April 2011, these projects will deliver an estimated

The London region has focused on establishing

increase of 300 people in settled accommodation

partnerships, at strategic and delivery level, to

and 130 people in employment and training. Projects

encourage innovation and joint working that they

include dedicated employment brokers, increasing

believe is essential to achieving results. A Regional

recruitment of socially excluded adults in the public and

Delivery Group has been reformed to implement the

private sector, and targeted enhanced housing options

vision set by the Regional Strategy Group. Membership

for vulnerable people. All projects will be expected to

includes representatives from the Department of Health

contribute to shared learning across London and to act

(DH), CLG, Social Exclusion Task Force, Mental Health

as champions for PSA 16.

Development Unit, Job CentrePlus, Third Sector including Homeless Link and a London Borough Authority. 24

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CONNECT | SPRING 2010

INTERNATIONAL

The Road Home Travis Gilbert, Policy and Research Officer at Homelessness Australia, reviews some of the positive steps the Australian Government is taking to reduce homelessness and looks at what else needs to happen to make their ambitious targets a reality.

In December 2008, Homelessness Australia

family violence is the biggest cause of homelessness.

welcomed the release of the first ever White Paper on

It is therefore disappointing that more funding was

homelessness, The Road Home. The White Paper set the

not allocated to projects that address this cause of

ambitious goal of halving homelessness by 2020.

homelessness.

Since the release of the White Paper, there have been a

We know that 40 per cent of people who are homeless

number of developments. At a national level, plans are

as adults were first homeless as young people, and

underway for the development of a new data collection

stopping this transition into adult homelessness will go a

system, and a national homelessness research strategy is

long way towards meeting the 2020 targets. The White

being produced. Each Australian state and territory has

Paper expands the models to support young people in

developed an Implementation Plan to determine how

state care to move on to independent living. Currently,

it will allocate the funding they receive. New initiatives,

one in three young people who leave care will be

programs and services announced in these plans will no

homeless within 12 months.

doubt play an important role in reducing homelessness over the next decade.

Responding to the needs of children experiencing or

Although we welcome the significant funding

with more than 12,000 children, aged 12 and under,

commitments made under the White Paper, we are

currently homeless each night. A number of initiatives

concerned that almost all funding has been allocated

were announced in the Implementation Plans to

to new programs and services, with many not coming

increase such support for children but we can and must

onboard until the middle of this year. Existing specialist

do more.

at risk of homelessness must become a national priority

homelessness services, however, have not received a notable increase in funding. If Australia is to meet the

Homelessness is a complex social problem and in a

target of halving homelessness by 2020 then funding

country as prosperous as Australia it is incumbent on us

allocated to specialist homelessness services will need

to work towards ending it. The road home may not be

to increase significantly.

straight forward but, with the right support, the vision set

Focused support

out in the White Paper can become a reality.

Meeting the 2020 targets will require a considerable and

To find out more about Homelessness Australia

specific focus on women, young people and children.

visit: www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au. You can

In Australia approximately 45 per cent of people

download a copy of The Road Home’ white paper at:

who are homeless are women, and domestic and

http://bit.ly/roadhome WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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INSPIRED

CONNECT | SPRING 2010

talking about mental health Whilst a lot has been done to raise awareness of mental health; negative stereotypes and discrimination still cause people living with mental health problems to feel cut off and excluded from society. Here we look at some of the innovative approaches being used to tackle mental health stigma.

Mark Brown is the editor

schizophrenia storylines in Hollyoaks, post natal

of One in Four, the only

depression on Coronation Street and depression on

national aspirational lifestyle

Emmerdale, mental distress is making it into mainstream

magazine for people with

programmes like never before. However, the issues now

mental health difficulties ...

affect the most popular characters rather than just the

People often ask me how we

pantomime baddies.

came up with the idea for One in Four. I was very unwell in my twenties, unemployed, workless and on the verge of becoming homeless. It was a mixture of things, problems in other areas of my life were making my mental health worse and, in turn, this made it harder to sort out my problems.

Eastenders was honoured at this year’s Mind Mental Health Media Awards for its ongoing commitment to mental health. In Jean Slater and Stacey Branning it now has two central characters living with bipolar disorder. From the outset, we worked with Eastenders to develop the storyline. We put their researchers in touch with people who have bipolar disorder and offered practical tips, such as advising on the type of medication Stacey

During that time I didn’t know what to do to sort stuff out

would receive. With direct life experience at the core

and get help or realise that it was possible to get on with

of the storyline, viewers were given an insight into the

my life despite having a mental health difficulty. One in

realities of living with bipolar disorder.

Four was set up to answer these concerns.

Since the Eastenders storyline aired, doctors have

People with mental health difficulties often get ignored

reported a significant increase in the number of 18 to 24

and don’t get to speak to a wide public audience.

year olds seeking help for bipolar disorder and we’ve has

Coverage of mental illness is almost always negative;

seen calls to Mind’s infoLine rocket.

stopping people from recognising their difficulties and putting them off seeking help. One in Four is a magazine that challenges that with each issue led and written by people living with mental difficulties. Furthermore, over ten thousand people living with mental health difficulties read One in Four. To find out more visit: www. oneinfourmag.org Alison Kerry, Head of Media at Mind, tells us how national soap operas are playing a part in breaking the mental health taboo... Over the last year, mental health issues have been particularly prominent on the small screen. From

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Nominations for this year’s Mind Mental Health Media Awards are now open at: http://www.mind.org.uk/ mediaawards Abigail MacDougall, Online Officer at Rethink, explains how social media is bringing mental health issues into the mainstream... With more than 1,500 Facebook fans and 1,600 followers on Twitter, social media enables us


CONNECT | SPRING 2010

INSPIRED

Above: Lacey Turner, who plays Stacey Branning in EastEnders. Left: Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer, and Lacey Turner and Gillian Wright from EastEnders. Photos Martin Usborne

to highlight mental health issues to people far beyond our

response and speaking out about living with a mental

traditional reach.

illness has encouraged others to share their experiences.

We’ve been able to create a space where likeminded

Why is mental health awareness so important?

people can find support, share ideas, and highlight their

There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding mental illness –

concerns. By watching online discussions we’re able to

mostly negative, such as the casual association people

detect emerging themes early on and signpost people to

make with mental illness and violence. Other stereotypes

relevant links. We also use Facebook and Twitter to shout

are more positive, like the general misconception that

about and get feedback on controversial subjects and

people with bi polar disorder are ‘more creative’. Either

issues, such as discriminatory press articles, that we want

way mental health needs to be demystified. After all,

to highlight.

having schizophrenia says as much about who you are as

As every member of Rethink’s online community has

a person as having asthma does.

different interests and their own network, our messages

What’s your advice to people working with clients that

are passed on quickly and efficiently; subtly knitting

have mental health issues?

mental health into a wider community and helping to

Engage with people beyond their illnesses and try to

break down stigma.

appreciate and promote the value in their experiences.

To read more about Rethink’s online campaign visit: www.homeless.org.uk/connect. You can check out Rethink’s Facebook group at: http://bit.ly/rethinkfb or visit them on twitter at: www.twitter.com/Rethink_ Three years ago Seaneen Molloy created her blog, ‘the secret life of a manic depressive’. Since then the blog has been dramatised on Radio 4 and Seaneen has become an essential, public voice for people affected by mental health issues…

Encourage them to speak about their feelings and remember that recovery is different for every person and that every achievement, however small, matters. To read the full interview with Seaneen visit: www.homeless.org.uk/connect or check out her blog at: www.mentallyinteresting.org.uk

DID YOU KNOW... Homeless Link is also embracing social media!

Why did you set up your blog?

Stay up to date with the latest homelessness news

I initially started blogging to write about how I was coping

by following us on twitter at: www.twitter.com/

after being recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I’ve

homelesslink. Why not become our fan on

kept it going to express myself and interact with other

Facebook too? Visit: http://bit.ly/HLfacebook

people in a similar position. The blog has had a great WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

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PEOPLE

CONNECT | SPRING 2010

we’re growing for gold! Seeds are beginning to sprout in the gardens of homelessness agencies up and down the country as work gets under way for the for the Places of Change garden – the biggest plot to be shown at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. Michelle Doust from Homeless Link speaks to ‘Stevo’ and Angela (left), clients from the Steppin’ Stone day centre in Oxford, about their involvement in last year’s show and how they’re going for gold in 2010…

What did you enjoy about being involved in the Key

How do projects like this make a difference to

Garden last year?

homeless people’s lives?

Angela: I really enjoyed planting the plants but it was

Angela: It encourages people to be more active and go

hard work! Going to Chelsea was very exciting – we

out and get some fresh air. All of your worries go away

even bumped into Alan Titchmarsh!

because you’re too busy concentrating on what you’re

Stevo: I was so chuffed to be one of the people

doing.

representing Steppin’ Stone at Chelsea. I’ve been

Stevo: Gardening is good therapy! I have anxiety and

interested in gardening since I was a kid so it was

depression and getting out in the fresh air does me a

fantastic to walk around and see all of the plants –

world of good. I think a lot of homeless people can end

some were even bigger than me!

up feeling depressed so projects like this are a good way

How are you involved in the Places of Change

to keep their minds off their problems.

garden this year?

What are your personal goals for the future?

Angela: We’re growing vegetables, herbs and edible

Angela: I’d eventually like to get a small flat with a

flowers… We already grow vegetables to eat at the

garden of my own so I can have a cat and grow my

Steppin’ Stone centre and we’ve been using this

own plants. Bamboo and ferns are my favourites.

experience for the Places of Change garden. What have you learnt from being involved in these projects? Angela: We’ve learnt a lot. Our support worker, Nigel, got us to do an horticultural course for this year’s garden. The course taught us, amongst other things, about health and safety and crop rotation. Stevo: We also learnt about the type of ground that different plants need to be able to grow in successfully. We got a certificate for doing the course. 28

WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK

Stevo: I’d like to find a flat closer to the Steppin’ Stone centre and also have my own garden. What are your aims for this year’s garden? Stevo: Being involved in the Chelsea Flower Show gave me a real sense of achievement and I can’t wait for this year’s show which will be bigger with even more people. Angela: This time we want a gold medal! To follow the progress of the Places of Change Garden visit: www.placesofchangegarden.org.uk


what’s on? Upcoming training and events for the homelessness sector:

april

june

22

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Motivational Interviewing, london

16

Managing conflict, violence & aggressive situations, LONDON

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Welfare Benefits Overview, LONDON This course provides participants with an excellent introduction to the welfare benefits system, and offers a practical guide to claiming the most important benefits. Suitable for anyone involved in helping clients claim benefits, such as support, advice, and project workers.

Day centres; places of empowerment, acceptance & change, LONDON

Two day course that explores the underlying techniques and practices of motivational interviewing and its relevance and applicability within a housing and workplace context.

One day course which aims to challenge but support managers in considering how their day centre has changed in recent years and how it can become more a place of acceptance, empowerment and change.

Two day course that explores the underlying techniques and practices of motivational interviewing and its relevance and applicability within a housing and workplace context.

MAy

july

18

57

Effective Keyworking, london One day course which aims to enable participants to explore and understand the skills involved in helping someone to change within the framework and boundaries of keyworking.

HEALTHY MINDS: THE KEY TO REALISING 20 POTENTIAL, LONDON A large percentage of clients who access homelessness services have poor mental health. Without the right support and access to the right services, their mental health is likely to worsen. Very few staff however feel sufficiently prepared and trained to support these clients, which can leave them feeling uncertain.

HOMELESS LINK ANNUAL CONFERENCE, UNIVERSITY OF READING This year, our annual conference will explore how we can strengthen and secure the future of the homelessness sector so that we can ensure that vulnerable and socially excluded individuals continue to receive the care and support they need, and we can continue to work towards our goal of ending homelessness. If you work with homeless people or are interested in ending homelessness, then this is the event for you. Join the homelessness community.

This conference aims to demystify the mental health care system and inform workers based in the homelessness sector, how they can more easily support clients with poor mental health.

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Housing Benefits, LONDOn A detailed course focusing on the most problematic areas faced by housing professionals. Suitable for people who already have some familiarity of the housing benefit system or those who have been on the Welfare Benefits Overview course.

Drug & Alcohol Awareness This course will provide an introduction to alcohol and drug issues, raise the working knowledge and awareness of alcohol and drug terms, services, systems and practice, and examine ways in which alcohol / drug use can cause a variety of problems.

BOOKING DETAILS... To book a place on any of the training courses or conferences featured here please: Call 020 7960 3030 Email us at training@homelesslink.org.uk

www.homeless.org.uk


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HOMELESS LINK ANNUAL CONFERENCE 6 – 7 JULY 2010, UNIVERSITY OF READING

Our annual conference will explore how we can: • Strengthen and future proof our sector • Diversify income and build economic resilience • Offer enhanced, good quality provision • Prepare for changing political agendas and spending priorities • Demonstrate our impact • Use the Places of Change ethos to run services and best support clients • Offer a joined up approach to housing and health provision • Operate most effectively internally and externally • Work to end rough sleeping and homelessness. If you work with homeless people or are interested in ending homelessness, then this is the event for you. Join the homelessness community.

group discounts available! Book your place: T. 020 7840 4461 E. events@homelesslink.org.uk www.homelesslink.org.uk/events

©Robert Davidson

A practical conference exploring how we can strengthen and secure the future of the homelessness sector so that we can ensure that vulnerable and socially excluded individuals continue to receive the care and support they need, and we can continue to work towards our goal of ending homelessness.


CONNECT 39