The Southwark Law Centre has won £20,000 and second prize in this year’s prestigious London Homelessness Awards.
The Homeless Patients Legal Advocacy Service is a partnership between Southwark Law Centre and Guys and St Thomas’ Homeless Team. It takes an innovative approach to preventing homelessness and rough sleeping and as a result the team have been able to reach a very disadvantaged group of people who face multiple barriers to accessing high quality legal advice.
Sally Causer, Executive Director at Southwark Law Centre, said:
“We set up the partnership in January 2020 and since then the team has provided crucial support to homeless patients who once discharged from the hospital have no place to go. Our approach is to tackle the root causes of homelessness, in a person centred way.”
The project has resulted in life changing grants of leave to remain in the UK and resolution of homelessness for patients, NHS data for a sample of patients shows that there has been an 87% reduction in inpatient admissions and an 81% reduction in bed days.
As well as direct case work support, the law centre team offer training and support to help NHS staff. One said:
“I feel better prepared to support patients with immigration issues, knowing the different types of legal statuses and what they entail as well as when to direct patients for professional legal support.’’
Ian Brady, Executive Chair of London Housing Foundation, chaired the judging panel for this year’s awards. He said:
“This innovative partnership is making a genuine difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We are very pleased to be able to support them and we hope the money and award status will help them go from strength to strength.”
More details about the London Homelessness Awards, including a short film about the project can be found at www.lhawards.org.uk. You can also read about some real life case studies at https://lhf.org.uk/blog/southwark-law-centre-20000-prize-at-london-homelessness-awards/.