The Department of Health has launched a new £10 million fund to ensure that homeless people receive better help once they leave hospital.
The funding has been made available following a report commissioned by the Department of Health from Homeless Link and St Mungo’s that showed more than 70% of homeless people discharged from hospital went back onto the streets without housing or underlying health problems being addressed.
The money will go to charities and voluntary organisations who work with the NHS and local authorities to create services to ensure that homeless people get the support they need when they leave hospital.
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry who launched the fund on Monday said:
“Homeless people are too often discharged back onto the street without their problems being properly addressed. This is damaging to their health and increases NHS costs through ‘revolving door’ admissions.”
Homeless people attend A&E six times more than people with a home and are admitted to hospital four times as often. The cost of treating them in hospital is eight times higher than average at £85 million.
Funding will run for the 2013-14 financial year with grant payments to be made in August 2013. The fund aims to improve hospital discharge for the homeless after treatment and to secure appropriate facilities for those requiring ongoing medical support after discharge.
Applications from consortiums of organisations are strongly encouraged with a voluntary sector agency as the lead organisation on the application.
Voluntary sector agencies including registered charities, voluntary and community unincorporated charitable associations, industrial and provident societies, community interest companies, and social enterprises may apply as long as they:
- Provide services to homeless people or those at risk of becoming homeless.
- Spend more than 50% of their income on homeless people.
- Have approved annual accounts no more than 12 months old.
Homeless Link Chief Executive Rick Henderson said:
“This investment is fantastic news and will go a long way in addressing a real issue around the way the NHS deals with homeless people leaving hospital. Patching people up and sending them back out to the streets where their problems will recur only leads to readmission and continued problems.
“This issue has existed for too long. We hope this investment will be the catalyst for hospitals, councils and charities to work together to stop this cycle of homelessness, poor health and readmission once and for all.”
Application can be made for revenue funding, capital funding or both.
The deadline for applications is 8 July 2013 (12 noon).
An application pack can be found on the Department of Health website (opens new link).