Homeless health service

The King's Health Partners homeless health team supports patients experiencing homelessness.

We help patients who are attending or admitted to:

  • Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
  • King's College Hospital
  • South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Our team includes:

  • housing workers
  • specialist nurses
  • occupational therapists
  • social workers
  • GPs

We have partnered with Southwark Law Centre to help people who are homeless achieve more stable lives, and in turn become healthier. The service gives legal advice to patients to help resolve house, immigration and benefits problems.

Watch our video for more information about the service.

Text: Southwark Law Centre's Homeless Patients Legal Advocacy Service

Melu Mekonnen (Homeless Health Team, Guy's and St Thomas'): We encounter a lot of homeless patients who struggle with homelessness as a result of immigration issues or benefit issues.

Often many homeless people have got tri mobility where there are physical health issues as well as mental health issues and they are not able to engage by themselves to be able to resolve such matters when they are struggling with homelessness.

They need someone to advocate for, to represent them and to support them properly to be able to engage in hospital and in their community at the same time.

It is an amazing project that gives me a sense of fulfillment.

Text: Patients supported by the service have shown a 94% reduction of admissions and a 97% reduction in length of hospital stay after 6 months.

Van Ferguson (Immigration Solicitor, Southwark Law Centre): My name is Van Ferguson I am an immigration solicitor working for Southwark Law Centre.

Unfortunately these groups of people we interact with quite a lot in the project happen to only engage with these services when they're very, very unwell and therefore the need to assist them is even greater for them.

We can point to case studies we've got where those people have now been able to secure accommodation long term and be recognised as people in need of support and care.

We've been able to regularise their status so they can actually access mainstream support and be properly supported through it.

I think for a lot of those people it can be a little bit of life and death, whether those people engage with our service or not.

That's how important it is, and it feels sometimes that the law centre acts as a another emergency service or another A&E department, as we work with the hospital teams, as we are all under time pressures, and we all have to work to the vulnerabilities of each client which can be quite extreme.

We help homeless people leave hospital as safely as possible. We aim to prevent re-admissions and improve long-term health. We can put homeless people in touch with:

  • primary care services
  • mental health services
  • addictions support
  • support with medicines
  • screening services
  • vaccination services

Recent news

London's first dedicated detox unit for homeless people opens at St Thomas'

People who are homeless are "healthier" thanks to pioneering legal support project

A 'safe place' for patients who are homeless after hospital stay

Research and clinical trials

Research is vital to improving the care that you receive when you're unwell. You can help improve healthcare by taking part in research studies at our Trust. During your appointment, ask your healthcare professional about research. They'll be happy to tell you about research studies you could be eligible to join.

Last updated: September 2023

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Is this page useful?