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Stepping up for homeless patients

Through your generous donations, we’ve helped the incredible team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ support the most vulnerable members of our communities.

We’ve backed a unique, wraparound service that provides legal, housing and healthcare support for homeless people in our communities.

‘It’s not only healthcare and legal advice they’re getting’ explains Melu Mekonnen, Senior Housing Liaison Officer in the Homeless Health Team ‘it’s emotional support too, from people who understand and care.’  

The Homeless Patients Legal Advocacy Service, run in collaboration with Southwark Law Centre, helps homeless patients to achieve more stable lives, and in turn, become healthier. At the end of the first year of the project, there was a significant drop in Accident and Emergency attendances, with patients more likely to attend hospital outpatient appointments and seek help from other health professionals, such as their GP’s.

Delivering the right care for all patients 

If the patient is dealing with challenges in areas like immigration, housing or social care, they will be allocated a solicitor to represent them in dealing with these matters. The Homeless Health Team can also support patients who have concerns about their mental health or other issues. 

It’s tailor-made, unique support which is quite different from other legal aid that homeless people get

Melu Mekonnen, Senior Housing Liaison Officer

‘We coordinate their needs within the community, such as connecting them to other support services they may need, such as housing, asylum or immigration needs’ says Melu.  

Mr A* was a Chinese national who had been in the UK since 2004. He had worked for 16 years but was then stabbed and left blind in one eye. Following his admission to hospital he was made homeless, and it became apparent that he did not have immigration status in the UK. The solicitor assessed that Mr A had a fear of persecution in China and prepared and lodged a fresh claim for asylum and applied to the Home Office for accommodation while his asylum claim is considered.  

Uplifting support that changes lives  

This support for homeless patients was made possible through Guy’s and St Thomas’ Samaritan Fund. This exists for vulnerable patients who need a helping hand outside of the usual clinical care.   

In 2021, the award-winning project was identified by the Mayor of London to be featured as a case study in City Hall’s Health Inequalities Strategy Implementation Plan. 

The project has demonstrated its value in addressing health inequalities for some of the most vulnerable members of our community over the last two years.  Following the successful pilot, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust will fund the programme for a further year. 

With your support, we are helping Guy’s and St Thomas’ reach out to everyone who needs them.  

 *Names have been changed to protect the patient’s identity 

Donate today, to help ensure that all members of our community get the very best care