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Homeless Health Peer Advocacy (HHPA)
Homeless Health Peer Advocacy (HHPA) is a peer support service. #HealthNow Birmingham delivers one-to-one engagements to enable people experiencing homelessness to access health services. Support can be provided face-to-face or over the phone, depending on individual need and COVID-19 restrictions.
Peer Advocates can:
- Support people to register with GPs and dental practices
- Help people to book health appointments
- Accompany people to appointments and support with travel costs
- Assist people to find information about health and health services
- Build skills and confidence to enable people to continue accessing health services independently
Our Peer Advocates are volunteers who have experienced homelessness themselves. All volunteers go through a rigorous selection process, including DBS checks, attend a comprehensive training programme, and receive support and supervision to enable them to carry out the role safely.
Who can benefit?
The service is open to anyone in Birmingham who is experiencing homelessness. This includes people who are sleeping on the streets, sofa-surfing or living in hostels, night shelters, refuges, asylum support (NASS) accommodation, supported housing due to homelessness, B&Bs, squats and temporary accommodation.
How to refer:
Please fill out our referral form and email it to [email protected]
If you have any questions or would like further information about the service, please call Frances Schofield, #HealthNow Coordinator, on 07971181659.
We will match referrals based on capacity and priority basis. We will aim to respond to the initial referral within 3 working days. We will store all information in line with Crisis’ confidentiality and data protection policies.
#HealthNow peer research report: Understanding homeless health inequality in Birmingham
Between September and November 2020, six peer researchers carried out 64 semi-structured interviews with people experiencing homelessness in Birmingham. They aimed to identify barriers to people experiencing homelessness, accessing care and treatment at a local level and develop action plans to eradicate those barriers.
This peer-led research provides empirical evidence illustrating the issues people experiencing homelessness face when accessing healthcare services and maintaining their own health and wellbeing.
Meet Frances Schofield, Birmingham’s #HealthNow Coordinator
“I’m really excited to join the #HealthNow Network and am inspired by the important and innovative peer research already underway across the UK.
I’m looking forward to uniting people with experience of homelessness and key stakeholders to drive system change in Birmingham. Working together, we have a real opportunity to address homeless health inequalities and develop inclusive and effective services that work for everyone.”
Frances’ top priorities are:
- Having a steering group of experts by experience to give focus and direction to the #HealthNow Project in Birmingham
- Getting to know local partners in health and homelessness services, supporting each other and learning together
- Supporting the development of our #HealthNow alliance: engaging with stakeholders and ensuring the alliance is truly peer-led
- Being flexible and creative as we identify and respond to new issues arising from the pandemic
- Working as a #HealthNow team to share learning across Birmingham, Newcastle and Greater Manchester, translating local insight into national action
If you are based in Birmingham and have experience of homelessness, or work within the homelessness or health sectors, Frances would love to hear from you to see how you can be involved in #HealthNow. Drop her an email: [email protected].