A housing association is part of a Salford-based project which aims to stop homeless people from ending up back on the streets after a hospital stay.

Funded by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), the ‘accommodation-led’ project aims to end the worrying trend of people being discharged into unsuitable housing or ending up sleeping rough after treatment in hospital, where there is still an ongoing primary health need.

ForHousing has provided eight accessible homes which people who fit the criteria can be fast-tracked into with a referral from Salford City Council.

In addition to a roof over their heads, individuals will also be able to access tailored support including ongoing medical treatment, substance misuse support and care packages if needed.

The scheme also sets out to prevent hospital admissions before they happen by providing ‘step up accommodation’ to people who are currently sleeping rough or at risk of doing so.

The scheme is part of a wider Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership initiative that has been supported with a £300,000 government grant from DHSC. A number of key partners will be involved in its delivery, including Salford Primary Care Together, Salford City Council Adult Social Care and Greater Manchester Mental Health.

The team behind the model also plans to take a ‘test and learn’ approach, so that learnings and best practice can influence regional and national approaches to supporting people who are experiencing homelessness.

Colette McKune MBE, ForHousing CEO, said; “Those who work in homelessness and healthcare know only too well about the health inequalities experienced by those who are homeless. There are huge risks to those who have accessed medical care and then find themselves back on the streets or in unsafe housing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these problems and this model aims to reduce hospital stays and need for further treatment, prevent people from being discharged into unsafe conditions and to learn how this sort of approach could be implemented more widely.

“Our health and our housing situations are so closely linked. Without a safe place to live, mental and physical health are of course impacted. We cannot solve these challenges in silos and this collaborative approach aims to provide a workable solution to transform lives.”