Sophie Linden, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (second from the right above), visited Gloria House in Stock Newington to learn more about how the service bridges the gap between hospital discharge and homelessness.

The service opened in January 2018 as a result of an initial approach by the Royal London Hospital Pathways Team and Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about the possibility of providing a hospital discharge service to free up bed spaces and reduce the pressure on hospital wards.

The Pathways Team was set up to make sure homeless people who are medically fit to be discharged from hospital don’t go back onto the streets and are linked in to options around housing and ongoing support in the community.

Clinical teams at the hospital were acutely aware that they often had patients who, while being medically fit to be discharged, were unable to leave hospital as they were homeless, have no recourse to public funds involved in gang related issues or fleeing domestic abuse. So, when we were able to provide a six bedroom property that was suitable for the pilot service it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work with the Pathways Team to provide safe accommodation for people with nowhere else to go along with support to find suitable longer term housing.

Dave Black, Assistant Director of Care and Support at Peabody, described how innovative the service is:

“Gloria House is an excellent example of integrated healthcare for single homeless people and great examples of partnership working between housing, health and social care providers. It contributes to reducing crime and avoiding re-admissions to hospital along with showing how a joined-up approach can benefit customers and providers alike”.

Maggie Jeffrey, the Commissioning Manger for Tower Hamlets CCG, was clear about the benefits to the NHS:

“This service is really innovative and I have been impressed with their collaborative approach. One of the main issues for the NHS is people having nowhere to go and the continued cost of keeping them in hospital. So, if we can have services like this it will really help the NHS save money.”

During the visit, Sophie, seen right above, had the chance to speak to a range of people involved in the project from Peabody, the Pathways Team, the commissioning team at Tower Hamlets CCG, Roots2Roots, the team leader of Gloria House and some of the customers. Overall she was impressed to see the work that the service was doing to help those most in need:

“It’s great to see the incredibly positive outcomes this service is able to achieve for its customers. Leaving hospital with nowhere safe to recuperate clearly results in more re-admissions, often due to people returning to un-safe environments. But what this group of partner agencies have realised is the importance of linking health, housing and social care to provide a joined up, practical and successful approach to reducing homelessness and keeping people safe.”