Quartet make pledge for homeless

Date published: 13 November 2017

Three local surgeries and a town centre charity are amongst the first organisations in the country to promise to be Homeless-Friendly.

In the company of Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd, The Dale Medical Practice, Nye Bevan House, plus The Strand and Bowness Road Family Practices, Middleton, pledged to examine their policies and procedures and ensure they cater for the homeless.

They were joined by The Sanctuary Trust, Drake Street, whose expertise in caring for rough sleepers will be shared with the programme’s other pioneering partners who include a café, a local council, several surgeries, Rochdale’s out-of-hours medical service BARDOC and a training charity.

The average life expectancy for a homeless person is just 47 years-of-age and they are beset by problems such as infected sores, susceptibility to falls, heart problems and malnutrition.

For Colin (not his real name) one of the service users at The Sanctuary Trust, having accessible healthcare is a massive bonus. The former Army Royal Engineer (44) who has been homeless for ten years, said: “Because I had no solid ID or proof of address, some surgeries used to turn me away. I had to walk miles to see a charity doctor in Manchester.”

Apart from ensuring that those with no-fixed-abode are never refused healthcare, Homeless-Friendly will brush-up on the dental care rough sleepers receive, rated by Colin as the most painful problem he faced, and encourage their partners to sign-post homeless people to services which can help them with issues such as addiction.

The Sanctuary Trust provides support, accommodation and training so that homeless people can take control of their own lives.

For creative artist Colin, the Drake Street concern has given him, 'confidence and motivation'.

"They help with your health and getting skills for work. If you have the right mind-set, they get you back into civilisation where you are not ashamed or embarrassed.”

Dr Zahid Chauhan, creator of Homeless-Friendly said: “The problem of homelessness is complex and different in every area. The Dale Street Medical Practice will experience town centre homelessness while our Middleton practices might encounter the “hidden homeless” – those living in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs or sofa surfing at friends’ houses.

“We are particularly pleased that The Sanctuary Trust have joined us. We have learned so much from homeless people about the issues they face first-hand; and their involvement will give rough sleepers an even more powerful voice so together we can change how society views homeless people for the better.”

Homeless-Friendly is open to organisations from the public, private and voluntary sector.

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