The Groundswell Homeless Health Peer Advocacy (HHPA) service supports people experiencing homelessness to address physical and mental health issues.
We work to improve people’s confidence in using health services and increase their ability to access healthcare independently.
The volunteer Peer Advocates delivering the service have all experienced homelessness themselves; in some areas we also have specialist Care Navigators or Case Workers – the majority began as volunteers.
Everyone goes through a rigorous selection procedure (including DBS checks or Garda checks in Ireland), attends a comprehensive training programme, and receives ongoing support and supervision to enable them to carry out the role safely.
Through HHPA we can:
✓ Support a client to attend and understand appointments, and make choices about the next steps
✓ Give practical support in attending follow ups and hospital stays
✓ Support a client to find out information about health and health services
✓ Support a client to address their health issue
✓ Pay for travel including taxis if needed
Through HHPA we cannot:
✗ Give health advice or tell the client what is in their best interests
✗ Discuss the client’s situation with anyone else without the client’s consent
✗ Work with any issues that are not health related
✗ Attend benefits assessments with clients
✗ Work with someone whose behaviour poses a risk to the Peer Advocate
✗ Pick someone up from a private flat. If someone lives in their own flat we will need to arrange to pick them up from somewhere public
Saving lives, saving money
HHPA is proven to improve the health of people experiencing homelessness.
HHPA increases access to preventative health services; increases knowledge, confidence and motivation to address health issues and ensures that treatment is received. In turn this leads to cost savings for the NHS.