A person may be considered homeless if they are street homeless (rough sleeping), sofa surfing, staying at a hostel, a B&B (not on holiday) or in temporary accommodation. If a person informs you they are homeless or threatened with homelessness, The Council (local authority) have a duty to offer assistance as directed within the Homeless Reduction Act. You can refer the person via The Duty To Refer (Homeless Reduction Act), how to refer can be found on the Council's Website within their homeless/housing section and is usually an online form.
When supporting a person who is homeless please ensure that you ask the person how they would like you to contact them such as phone, text, email or c/o address (this could be a day service support or a friend’s address). Many people who are homeless experience difficulty completing forms, this could be due to English being a second language, difficulty reading and writing or simply not having reading glasses. Please offer to assist a person to complete necessary paperwork. You can use your organisation as a c/o address but be aware that when doing this you need to ensure that you have a way of contacting the person (such as an informal contract stating that they will call in once a week)
Expecting people to telephone or attend the surgery at a certain time to make an appointment may be extremely difficult for a person who is homeless. A person that is homeless may have experienced traumas which could in trust issues. A person may contact you as a last resort, by being flexible and understanding you are starting small steps in building up a relationship of trust.
We ask organisations to examine their policies and procedures to ensure that they do not prevent people who are homeless from accessing a respectful and inclusive service.
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, please talk with them, offering to refer them for support, all councils either have their own rough sleeper support staff or link into street link. The contact number for StreetLink is 0300 500 0914. https://www.streetlink.org.uk/an You can find details of all the Greater Manchester contact numbers on our ‘Contact Us Web Page’
We list Homeless Friendly GP Practices and other relevant organisations on our website, we ask for a named person as the contact person. This enables support organisations to know who to contact should there be a problem. Having a named person or a champion as they are often described encourages the named person to develop an expertise in relation to local support services.
We are able to supply further information on local support services and also offer bespoke training.