Today is World Human Rights Day and it marks a year to the day we started our ambitious project to improve access to healthcare services for those who are experiencing homelessness by giving out information about their rights to access healthcare.
Homelessness is defined as not having a home. It is difficult to know how many homeless there are in Warwickshire as, while counts of rough sleepers are conducted, these do not reflect the true numbers of homeless as many are homeless even if they have a roof over their head, for instance people who stay with friends known as ‘sofa surfers’.
We started the project a year ago, after engaging with homeless people and listening to the difficulties they were having. Homeless people can face difficulties accessing healthcare for a few reasons including not having a fixed address. As part of the project we hold free workshops for people who either work, or might come in to contact, with those experiencing homelessness about what people’s right are and how they can access care. We also made a wallet sized card to give out and serve as reminders.
Vina, who leads on the project has said “it’s about empowering those who use services, and informing those who provide services, by giving out information about people rights to access primary care, such as GPs.
It is especially important at this time of year that people feel as though they can access healthcare and, as part of the project, we will be giving out bags of sweets to homeless people with the information in”
Emma Jones, from Doorway, an organisation who provide support for young people experiencing homelessness in the north of the county, said “We think the project is great! The workshop was really interesting and informative. We have given out cards to people who managed to get an appointment and were very grateful for having the card, one person said it saved them- it is definitely so much more than just a card.”
The project started in Warwick district last year, moving the project through the county, and are currently running it in Nuneaton and Bedworth. Click here to find out more about the project