St Mungo’s seeks social workers’ views on homelessness

Children’s social workers have been asked by London charity St Mungo’s for their help in breaking the link between mental ill health and homelessness.

The charity is asking individuals and organisations that work with young people, including those in care, for their expertise in order to get a better understanding of the role of mental health as a cause of homelessness. People involved with the probation service or ex-offender groups have also been asked to contribute.

The charity’s “call for evidence” campaign was launched in April after the charity warned that the government was at risk of missing its target to eradicate rough sleeping by 2012.

Vicious circle

Chief executive Charles Fraser said: “We know that the experience of many homeless people with mental illness is characterised by a vicious circle, where this group avoids services, and many mainstream services avoid this group.

“To break the cycle, we need to develop our understanding of the problem by broadening the evidence base, to share a wider understanding of what works for this group and what doesn’t, and to engage further with partners in the successful design and delivery of accessible and effective services.”

So far the charity has heard from local authorities, housing associations, the NHS and third sector providers. The findings will be included in a major report to be launched in the autumn.

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