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Tags: Homelessness

Opening the too Difficult Box: Strengthening Adult Safeguarding Responses to Homelessness and Self-neglect

VOICES opening the box
By Bruno Ornelas, Head of Service, VOICES Over the next three years (2019-2022) we will take part in a research project looking at how self-neglect is experienced by people who are homeless, and how this can be addressed through strengthening local adult safeguarding responses. Along with our colleagues at King’s College London and others, our involvement in this study will be to facilitate Communities of Practice (CoPs) as a theoretically informed approach for aiding reflective practices and embedding a culture of learning and improvement. This includes engaging in participatory and action orientated methods to work collaboratively with Safeguarding Adults Boards across three English local authority areas (including Stoke-on-Trent) to identify positive practices and areas for improvement. This study is also timely given the concerns raised by government about the adequacy of safeguarding and why there have been so few Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SARs) into the deaths of people who are homeless, and whether learning from these Reviews is being implemented. VOICES collaborated in recent research which looked at themes emerging from SARs where homelessness was a contributing factor. Through this, it was highlighted that self-neglect as being a prominent category of risk that people with needs linked to multiple exclusion homelessness often face,… Continue Reading

Association of Charitable Foundations event

VOICES ACF article
By Andy Meakin, Director, VOICES   We were delighted to welcome colleagues from the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), Homeless Link, and the National Lottery Community Fund to Federation House at the end of March to discuss the relationship between homelessness and criminal justice. VOICES pulled together examples from across the Fulfilling Lives partnership of what works well in these contexts for our customers based on our learning. We summarised these in to five key approaches:   Service coordination / navigation An assertive case worker and advocate to offer immediate help working from a strengths-based perspective.  Someone to guide and engage people in the services that they need.  A determined and persistent worker that focuses on solutions.  Navigators steer people to and through services (and vice versa), assist people to overcome practical barriers using a personal budget, and compile a multi-agency plan to move towards people’s aspirations. Multi-disciplinary working People with complex needs often face multiple exclusion from services.  This leads to situations where people may feel or become ‘stuck’ outside of the system.  Multidisciplinary working allows professionals involved to take a solution focused approach.  This will often necessitate dealing with exceptions through compromise and sharing identified manageable risks. Trauma informed care People that have been through harrowing… Continue Reading

Access to Primary Care Services for Patients with “No Fixed Abode” – A follow-up to the Gatekeepers Report

VOICES GP report 2
Over the past 18 Months our partners at Expert Citizens have been host to 2 rotations of 5, year 5 GP students from Keele University. The first rotation – August to December 2017, conducted research to gauge the reach of the GP cards produced as learning from the original report (which can be found here). These cards were distributed across the city for those who were finding it difficult to register with a GP. The cards state that the person wanting to register does not require identification or an address to register.   The second rotation, December 2017 to March 2018, reviewed findings from the first rotation and studied the Gatekeepers report (2016). Together with Expert Citizens, they agreed to duplicate the mystery shopping exercise. Using the same script as in Gatekeepers (2016) the student group evidenced their findings as a direct result in the following report.   The aim of this project is to evaluate access to primary care services for patients with no fixed abode and to establish if there has been any change in the willingness of primary care services to accept NFA patients compared to when the first Gatekeepers report was produced back in 2016. Click here to read the full… Continue Reading

Rough Sleeping, to citywide teaching

VOICES lee points it out
Lee Dale, Expert citizens, VOICES   In 2014 I was invited to do a short interview with Darren Murinas, Expert Citizens.  At the time I was very much still ‘in the fight’.  I say this because I was addicted to substances, including benzodiazepines and, although I was staying in temporary shared housing accommodation, I was technically homeless.  In the film I shared my lived experiences of addiction, mental ill health and homelessness.  The film was later used for 1001 Lives storytelling.  My story begins….   I came from an impoverished family and received free school meals which meant I was ‘different’ from the start –this resulted in me always having a low opinion of myself. I have grown up with these feelings which have affected me as an adult. I have recently found in my recovery that I was suffering with a mental health illness known as Social Anxiety Disorder.  This is a result of my experiences at school, not to forget the depression I experienced due to the death of my father when I was fourteen years old and later the death of my mother in 2009.  The latter sadly meant that I became homeless -this was a result, in my opinion, of, not… Continue Reading

Making the case for systems change

VOICES change the system
Dean Spruce, Communications and Media Coordinstor, VOICES In my role for VOICES the term and the concept of ‘systems change’ is never far from the front of my mind. Having previously worked in a number of support based roles within the sector (rough sleeper outreach, homeless hostel and tenancy support officer within a housing team) the list of things I perceived could be changed for the better was quite a long one when I arrived in my current post. Making the transition from front line operations to an office based role was quite a culture shock however, and did require adjustments on my part, in both my thinking and in my approach. Discussions relating to ‘the system’ and ‘how we can change it’ were increasingly seeming more abstract to me, often being approached from a much wider angle than conversations I’ve previously had on the front line, and leaned more towards the political than the practical I’d previously been used to. What is ‘the system?’ Where does it begin and end? Is there one, or are there many? Which parts need to change? Which parts can we change? Who do we need to influence to affect these changes? How do we talk about… Continue Reading

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