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Population Outcome: People who are homeless in Suffolk and North East Essex have Health Equality

The term ‘homelessness’ includes a range of circumstances:

  • rooflessness (without a shelter of any kind, sleeping rough)
  • houselessness (with a place to sleep but temporary in institutions or shelter)
  • insecure housing (threatened with severe exclusion due to insecure tenancies, eviction, domestic violence)
  • inadequate housing (in caravans on illegal campsites, in unfit housing, in extreme overcrowding)

(Source: FEANTSA)

People and families who are homeless find it harder to register with a GP, to access primary care and hospital care, and to access social care support. This means their physical and mental health conditions are not diagnosed and treated early, or at all. Homelessness means that people and families have little or no access to healthy food or the means to prepare and cook it. The average age of death for homeless people is just 47 for a man and 43 for a woman.

People can become homeless for a variety of reasons including lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment; and life events such as relationship breakdown, or when leaving prison, care, or the armed forces with no home to go to. Other reasons are:

  • Family or friends no longer willing or able to accommodate,
  • End of private rented or social rented tenancy
  • Domestic abuse
  • Eviction from supported housing
  • Other violence or harassment
  • Required to leave accommodation provided by Home Office as asylum support.


Statutory Homelessness

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Rough Sleeping

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‘Hidden’ homelessness

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The Story Behind the Outcome

Lived Experience


Guardian report ‘Homeless families stuck in hotels as UK housing crisis deepens’

Journeys to Health

Beacon House


Healthcare experiences of homeless people in Essex

Healthwatch Essex report

Click here


The healthcare experiences of homeless people living in Essex

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Published Evidence

People sleeping rough

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Health issues for people who are homeless

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Deaths among people who are homeless

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Families who are homeless

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The impact of poor quality housing on health

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Further Reading

Further Information

Our Ambition

What we know matters to people and why

What matters?Why?
I am able to obtain the information I need to stay well.Using a range of communication methods, including outreach and non-digital formats, helps people without a stable address or access to online information, to stay well and know how to access help when they need it. Providing information on sources of support and maximising access to welfare benefits helps to prevent and to end homelessness. Recording homelessness status (including insecure and unsafe housing) enables better planning to meet the needs of people who are homeless.
I have equity of access to health and care servicesEnabling people and families who are homeless to register with a GP and obtain continuity of support and helps prevent the need for emergency care. Outreach health prevention services including dentistry, health checks, immunisations and screening helps people to be diagnosed and obtain treatment earlier. Person-centred communication adapted to people’s needs enables them to maintain contact with health and care services.
I have high quality carePerson-centred trauma-informed care that is flexible to the needs and challenges of homelessness enables people to stay well and to recover from physical and mental ill-health and reduce the risk of self-harm and substance misuse. High quality care recognises the stigma that homeless people face, and is provided in a non-judgemental and compassionate way.
I am seen and heardCo-producing services with people and families who are, or have been homeless, ensures services can be tailored to their needs.

How will things be different in Suffolk and North East Essex

We will work together to identify people who are homeless or in insecure accommodation, record their status and provide accessible advice on support to prevent and end homelessness.We will ensure people who are homeless know how to register with a GP and obtain access to community-based physical and mental health services, and health promotion support to prevent ill health.
We will provide trauma-informed personalised care that is sensitive to the needs of people who are homeless and the stigma they face.We will co-design services and co-produce improvements to existing services to improve the quality of health and care for people and families who are homeless.
We will seek support to end homelessness while an inpatient to enable safe discharge from hospital and a better chance of good recovery.

Case Studies – how we are making progress across Suffolk & North East Essex

Publish your case study here 

Publish your case study here 

Publish your case study here 

Publish your case study here 

Relevant plans and strategies


NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board
Joint Forward Plan


Ipswich and East Suffolk
Alliance Delivery Plan

North East Essex 
Alliance Delivery Plan

West  Suffolk
Alliance Delivery Plan

Page last updated: March 2023

Last Updated on 11 June 2024

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