Ending homelessness, rebuilding lives


Access to effective health and care services is an essential part of the solution to long-term or entrenched homelessness, but it must be accompanied by adequate support to help people to sustain treatment and improve their health long term.

At St Mungo’s we understand that health problems are both a cause and consequence of homelessness, and that improving our clients’ health and wellbeing is a key enabler of ending homelessness and rebuilding lives. We also know that people experiencing homelessness face significant health inequalities, both in terms of outcomes and access to services.

The average age of death is 45.9 years for males and 41.6 years for females. This is more than 30 years below that of the general population (ONS 2020).

There is evidence to suggest that homeless populations experience multiple barriers to accessing and utilising healthcare services. Only 67% of people sleeping rough are likely to be registered with a GP for instance, compared with 98% of the general population.

Our approach

Our role is to provide environments and services that both protect and promote health and wellbeing. We support our clients to improve their health, to access the services they need, and to enable clients to better manage their health conditions by helping people to be healthy, facilitating access to early treatment where needed, and ensuring that any treatment provided is the right treatment that works for them. We support our clients to build relationships and connect and coordinate the systems that they need, so they can use those relationships and services to improve their health and wellbeing, sustain accommodation and build a community around them for the long term.

The impact

We have particular expertise delivering support to people with ‘complex needs’ i.e. those individuals whose range of needs are unlikely to be met through the intervention of a single agency. Our staff work in trauma informed ways, recognising that relationships are an important vehicle for achieving the emotional safety which is necessary for people to start overcoming the effects of their trauma, to then engage with services. This means our services incorporate an understanding of trauma into their work, work to establish physical and emotional safety for clients, increase client choice, provide predictable environments, and support people to build on their strengths and coping mechanisms.

As we recognise that improving our clients’ health is key to ending their homelessness, we provide a number of services and resources that enable specialist support and health promoting behaviours to be delivered in all of our client services.

Our Client Health Excellence Standards include working in partnership with our clients and with local health providers to make informed health decisions that respect our clients’ beliefs and aspirations. We also advocate for and facilitate visits to and from local health services where possible, whilst also supporting access to community services.


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