Council gives hospital rough sleepers in east London ‘routes back to roots’
- Credit: Sam Mellish
A pioneering council scheme that stops homeless patients in hospital going back on the streets in London’s East End has prevented 36 people so far having to ‘sleep rough’ again when they’re discharged. The project originally launched in 2012 has found housing for them as well as helping other patients get emergency accommodation through friends and family and also assisting homeless European nationals back to their countries.
Now Tower Hamlets Council has released a Routes Home for Homeless Patients report this week which is being sent to other local authorities and to NHS trusts up and down the country.
“We want them to learn from our approach and help us tackle homelessness,” Mayor John Biggs said. “This report shows how we are working with other local authorities and the Royal London Hospital, which has a positive impact on these peoples’ lives.”
The project has halved rough sleeping among known homeless people in east London and has also made sure no-one else ends up on the streets who hasn’t experienced rough sleeping before.
It is run for the council by the Providence Row charity in Spitalfields, which tackles causes of homelessness.
You may also want to watch:
The charity’s chief Pam Orchard said: “Recovery is a time when homeless people in hospital may be open to change with a motivation to get their life back on track.
“But this momentum for rehabilitation is easily lost without tangible rehousing choices.”
- 1 Poplar MP tells court: 'I fled home when brother said I was possessed'
- 2 Leyton Orient still looking to add one or two new signings
- 3 John McDonnell is character witness for Poplar MP accused of housing fraud
- 4 Leyton Orient boss Jackett full of praise for Sotiriou after Magpies win
- 5 Driver demo blocks Uber's Whitechapel HQ in termination appeals dispute
- 6 Community patrols to stamp out Poplar's street crime
- 7 Ice cream parlour with 'no added sugar' to open in Canary Wharf
- 8 Flooding causes road and rail disruption across east London
- 9 Youthful Orient side nab a draw away to Dulwich Hamlet
- 10 Nine Tower Hamlets secondary schools rated outstanding by Ofsted
A trial scheme at the Royal London in Whitechapel began in 2013—first reported in the East London Advertiser—where all welfare needs were assessed before patients were discharged, such as social, medical, housing and psychological, to reduce chances of being re-admitted with the same medical problems if they end up back on the streets.
It aimed at bridging “the gulf between primary, secondary, social and housing care” with the hospital’s Homeless team holding weekly meetings with hostels, housing officers, social workers and community, psychiatric and alcohol liaison nurses where patients’ care plans were worked out.
Jim Bowes, a construction worker, became homeless at 43 when he had to stop work as a hod-carrier on building sites in 2013 after a broken cartilige.
“Doctors couldn’t do the operation because I was living on the streets and had nowhere to go after surgery,” he explained. “I didn’t have a clean place to get better—the risk of infection was too great.”
He was one of 250 patients involved in a trial that year which helped dozens of vulnerable patients get back on their feet.
Tower Hamlets council was also given £330,000 by Whitehall last Christmas to run a “rapid intensive response” project with neighbouring Hackney council and the City Corporation to put people from other parts of London who end up on the streets of the East End back in touch with their roots.