Welcome to the Faith & VCS Homeless & Vulnerable Forum new web site for Gloucester and the wider area. To find out more go to About Us.... About Homelessness...what is it?....Homelessness is devastating, dangerous and isolating. On average, homeless people die at just 47 years old. People sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence. More than one in three people sleeping rough have been deliberately hit or kicked or experienced some other form of violence whilst homeless. Homeless people are over nine times more likely to take their own life than the general population. Read more at link to Crisis.
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Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta, said “Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.”
- National Audit Office Major Output on Homelessness, read reports, press release, etc here. 'Homelessness has increased across all measures since 2010, with many local authorities now seeing it as a risk to their financial sustainability'.
“Homelessness in all its forms has significantly increased in recent years, driven by several factors. Despite this, government has not evaluated the impact of its reforms on this issue, and there remain gaps in its approach. It is difficult to understand why the Department persisted with its light touch approach in the face of such a visibly growing problem. Its recent performance in reducing homelessness therefore cannot be considered value for money”.
Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 13 September 2017.
- App offers suicide prevention help and support to people in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Read about 'The Stay Alive' app here, link to 2gether NHS Trust web site.
- Stroud Rotary has a Community Awards scheme open o support organisations within the Stroud area with a small grant which will make a real difference. Closing date 30 September. Find out more at http://www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/page.php?PgID=656033&ClubID=624.
- Gloucestershire’s Annual Public Health Report (includes info on mental health) – link here
- The government has agreed to “reflect” on its failure to engage with disabled people and their organisations, after facing public criticism from a UN committee of disabled human rights experts...read here.
- Take a look at CGL's refreshed web site, July 2017.
Governments benefit cap on lone parents of under two's is unlawful, high court rules and has resulted in 'real damage'....'real misery to no good purpose' Read more go to DWP page.
- Disability News Service - Read how... 'Maria Lane is just the latest PIP claimant to come forward – following the launch of a DNS investigation earlier this year – to describe how healthcare professionals employed by Atos and fellow government contractor Capita have been guilty of widespread dishonesty in the reports they compile after carrying out face-to-face PIP assessments'. Read article here about Maria's inhumane treatment by the DWP.
- Rent Receipts…Concerns on reported failure of landlords to issue Rent Receipts, for accomodation utilised by the City Councils Homeless Team. Reports of individuals being evicted for alledged non-payment of rent and then have their duty ceased by the City Councils Homeless Team who are then said to find the individual ‘intentionally homeless’ even though there may not be any proof that rent has been paid or not. Members are concerned that people’s belongings can be just packed up by landlord's and put out on the street for anyone to take. Motion passed unanimously on the 21st June: That the Forum considers any failure to issue receipts for rent or asscociated service charges as unacceptable and a major concern and that this is followed up, to be investigated together with the City Council, as an urgent priority.
Report reveals scale of food bank use in the UK...30th May 2017.
Project by 'Independent Food Aid Network' , mapping Food Aid, finds at least 2,000 food banks giving out parcels, with demand continuing to grow. Read more at Disabled Go News... and read more at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/29/report-reveals-scale-of-food-bank-use-in-the-uk-ifan.
Good News. A new perinatal mental health service. Almost £1.5 million worth of funding is being dedicated to developing a new specialist mental health service for pregnant women and new mums in Gloucestershire. Go to MH&W page for more info.
- World Suicide Prevention Day. Service at the Cathedral to mark World Suicide Prevention Day and to celebrate the lives of those lost to suicide... go to NEWS for more info.
Long-awaited peer reviews suggest ministers failed to act after deaths of ‘vulnerable’ claimants, read here.
- Food Bank Boom - Food Banks handed out a record number of meals last year after the reported 'chaotic introduction of universal credit', the govermnents welfare overhaul. Source The Guardian 25/04/2017, see chart and more info in NEWS.
- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading the Heads Together campaign to end stigma around mental health. Duke of Cambridge gets Heads Together with Lady Gaga to help show young people that it's #oktosay. There are loads of different ways to talk - #HeadsTogether ...
- Government admits failing to record actions after benefit suicide inquiries...go to NEWS for more info. The government failed for more than three years to keep a record of what actions it took – if any – after carrying out secret reviews into the suicides of benefit claimants, Disability News Service (DNS) can reveal.
- Latest GCM Newsletter Issue 27.
- Voluntary Sector Update - May 2017. All the latest news, events and info from the Glos VCSAlliance.
- Rogue Landlords - Guilty landlord fined...read more here from Gloucester City Council, March 2017. May 2016, Overview & Scrutiny go on the offensive to combat unlicensed and poor H&S conditions in HMO's in Gloucester...read more here.
- Health and Wellbeing Forum. Update from VCSAlliance. Here are links to reports and media releases completed by Healthwatch Gloucestershire which they promised at our most recent Forum meeting... http://www.glosvcsalliance.org.uk/health-wellbeing-forum/.
- From 1st April Healthwatch Gloucestershire is being delivered by Evolving Communities CIC who operate the Wiltshire Healthwatch. Member are pleased to hear that they have said they will be looking over the recommendations and key messages from reports done over the last year to see what they need to monitor and respond to under the new contract. The County Council undertook a competetive tendering process. Members have asked why the change? will the focus be the same? what were the score bids, quality element is important... will our Healthwatch be weaker run by Healthwatch Wiltshire?...will there be cuts in provision for residents?...alot of questions but our aim must be to again build a close working relationship with the new HWG team, so we ask for your patience while we open dialogue with HWG. We will keep you updated when we have any news.
- Great News. Support at The Cavern is set to continue beyond the pilot period. Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group is continuing funding to the service. Kingfisher Treasure Seekers say, 'We have been so pleased at how this low level out of hours mental health service has made such a difference in the lives of those attending. Since July 2016 we have had over 3,500 visits and it has become a second home for many. Thank you to everyone who has made this innovative service a reality and a special thank you to all our volunteers who give up their time to support those most in need'.
- Have you or a loved one had mental health issues? Martin Lewis's charity, the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute, is looking for people with this experience to join its community to help test ideas to change things for the better. Find how to join and/or watch a video about it. Related: MSE’s free Mental Health and Debt Help guide.
- Great news - The House of Commons passed the Homelessness Reduction Bill.
The Homelessness Reduction Bill is the first opportunity in 40 years (since the 1977 housing act) to secure the changes needed to better tackle homelessness and stop people needlessly suffering on our streets. The first reading happened with St Mungos, CRISIS and Shelter working in partnership and attending the house of commons. Read more at http://www.mungos.org/documents/7229/7229.pdf Visit Crisis campaign website: www.crisis.org.uk/nooneturnedaway.
Great News - New funding boost to tackle homelessness, bid is a success. Read more here. Citizen article 7th March. Forum forwards supporting letter for bid for funding to the Department of Communities and Local Government to commission a ‘social impact bond’ project to work with entrenched rough sleepers; present providers are unable to work with long-term roughsleepers in a long-term, innovative way, to help stop the 'revolving door' syndrome – link to original prospectus... https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561310/HPP_Rough_Sleeping_Prospectus.pdf.
- Councils are required to submit yearly Rough Sleeper Counts to central government. The official figures for 2016, taken as autumn, will be estimated this year. They are: Gloucester City up from 13 (2015) to 23, a 77% increase; Cheltenham up from 1 (2015) to 11, a 1000% increase; Stroud up from 1 to 2, a 100% increase. This does not include sofa-surfers.
A reported worrying increase in evictions from council run supported housing. There is a 6 week period where those evicted are not allowed back, so where do they go? Please refer them to Streetlink, onto the Outreach Team now P3, to find on the streets, into START,....... there must be a better way. We will contact Oonagh at the County Council to first assess extent. Raised at the last Forum Meeting that this is not good enough, risk to life, unsafe practice, where did 6 weeks come from?...; all agreed unacceptable. Being followed up. Report of one person being evicted onto the streets because he was seen with a knife,..... he was self harming.
IMPORTANT: Healthwatch Gloucestershire Report - Report on access to health and social care services by marginalised and vulnerable people in Gloucester. It was heartening to read, in the HWG Report, that the feedback about the Homeless Healthcare Team (HHT) was particularly positive and should be used as a model of Best Practice. Read the article in the Citizen here. The independence of Healthwatch was critical.
- Follow Joy Hibbins on Twitter. Founder and Director of Suicide Crisis, a charity which runs a Suicide Crisis Centre in Cheltenham, UK
- 'Please don't call us difficult to engage'. Very interesting article for mental health professionals...read here.
- The County Council 'Joint Strategic Needs Assessment' (JSNA), unfortunately does not include Homeless Healthcare. We recognise the JSNA as a strategic document and at present there is a very important omission, sadly we were told Homeless Health was not a priority as yet. Click HERE to read about JSNA's. Click here for the subsequent helpful 'JSNA Briefing Paper' for the Forums meeting on the 15th June 2016, Agenda Item 4. Good News: The Director of Public Health has noted the need to conduct a health needs assessment for the homeless healthcare and this features in their work plan for 2017/18. A health needs assessment is large undertaking. A work plan is being finalised so in April 2017, the Council will be in touch with the Forum to advise when this work will take place and the process for completing the health needs assessment. The County Council have been in touch and it was good to hear that the assessment will commence in the autumn of 2017and that the Forum will be a key stakeholder, a toolkit is being developed.
- Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England Insight Newsletter. Go to 'NEWS' for updates.
- What's New in Mental Health - go to NEWS and Health & Wellbeing.
- For the Autumn 2015 latest official Street Count statistics of rough sleepers for Gloucester go to Homeless page.
The Policy Research Unit. The contribution of faith organisations to the voluntary sector in local communities. Read the PRU Document here.
Please note that the content of the Faith & VCS Homeless Forum web site is for general information purposes only and is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. While the Forum is not resposible for the content of external linked web sites, being provided only as a 'convenience', we hope they offer you the help or information you are looking for.