Health and homelessness

At St Mungo's, staff, volunteers and clients themselves support our clients to access and maintain treatment within mainstream NHS services.

Where necessary we also host specialist healthcare services within our own projects, making it easier for our clients to get the treatment they need in an environment in which they feel comfortable.

70% of our clients report a physical health need and 47% have a significant medical condition. Many homeless people experience long term and chronic conditions including wound infections, respiratory or cardiovascular problems.

Infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C and HIV disproportionately affect people who are homeless. Our clients tell us that living on the street or in hostels can make managing these conditions very difficult.

Ultimately, homelessness can kill. The average age of death for a homeless man is 47, and for a homeless woman, just 43.

We work with our clients and their healthcare at different stages of their recovery. Some of the key projects we deliver to help people with their specific health conditions include:

  • The Hospital to Home Project in Lambeth provides advice and support to improve the quality of health and social care for homeless people attending Guy's, St Thomas' and King's College hospitals.
  • End of Life Palliative Care - we recognise that our clients may come to us at a point when they could be approaching the end of their life. Our resource pack, developed with Marie Curie Cancer Care, and specific training helps staff to spot the signs of those in need of end of life care and to support those clients, as well as with bereavement.
  • The Hospital Discharge Network in London aims to reduce readmission to hospital by providing aftercare in our hostels for up to 12 weeks.
  • The Health and Homelessness Project in London works to improve health outcomes with clients living in Supporting People funded accommodation in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Further reading
Needs to Know: Including single homelessness in Joint Strategic Needs Assessments