Health professionals should work with other services to help people recover and move on from homelessness. Health services also have a role to play in preventing people becoming homeless in the first place. Having a safe home reduces the risk of developing health conditions commonly experienced by people living on the streets.
Read how benefit and employment issues have an impact on people's lives.
'I was born in a mental hospital. My mum had a lot of mental health problems and my dad would hit all of us. He even hit the dog. It was ok when he wasn’t there but when he’d get back from work I was scared. Everytime my mum tried to get away he would find her and bring her back, and then we’d get beaten up because we tried to leave. We called the police but he would lie to them and they always believed him over us.'
'I was also seeing a guy who was thirty-three at the time, and when I left care at sixteen I went to Derbyshire to live with him. He was a drug dealer, but I thought he was a bad boy and I liked that. It seemed glamourous to me. There was a group of us living in the same house together. Loads of awful things happened there. There was a lot of sexual abuse going on that I still find difficult to talk about. His ex-wife left him because he’d been looking at their daughter who was only a year younger than me in a suspicious way. That was also when I started using drugs, but I didn’t realise I was getting addicted until it was too late.'
'My partner and I were living in a B&B together, but she had an accident and tipped over the kettle onto her leg. She had to have a skin graft on her thigh which meant she was in hospital for two weeks. I explained the situation to the manager but even if you miss curfew for one night you’re at risk of being booked out. We were sharing a double room together and because there are so few of them available they said they couldn’t wait until she was discharged. They didn’t care. I know they’re short of space. They’re even putting people in hotels at the moment, but I just don’t understand it. I think they were hoping the hospital would find us somewhere to stay but she didn’t get any help at all.'
Our research into the impact homelessness has on physical and mental health.
of homeless people report having a physical health condition
in comparison with 37% of the general population.
It is time to repeal the Vagrancy Act, yes. But if the answer was ever about whether to criminalise people, then we have been asking the wrong question. If we can see our way past labelling, grouping, dismissing, damning, pointlessly prosecuting and fining people, perhaps we can start answering the right question. What help and support do people need to realise their potential, and how quickly can we get it to everyone that needs it?
The centuries-old Vagrancy Act, which makes rough sleeping and begging illegal in England and Wales, should be scrapped because it is needlessly pushing vulnerable people further from help, according to a new report from homelessness charity Crisis. The calls come as the Government today announces its review of the Act as part of its rough sleeping strategy.