I was lucky enough to be at the launch of some research on the health services provided at Norwich’s City Reach service last week.
Dr Emily Clark spoke clearly and with feeling about working. Observing a misunderstood need, Dr Clark successfully secured some funding to undertake a trawl of the service. Her aim was to start the commissioning conversation with informed data of how the service is accessed, utilised and the extent to which needs are met.
I’ve worked in homelessness for 20 years and am well versed in the average age of death of a street homeless woman being 43. However, some of the statistics of triple morbidity that Dr Clark presented were spine tingling.
Here in our leafy city are people suffering with TB, predicted by their GP to die within a year and unable to access a service because they feel judged.
Yet again stories of multiple complexity were told, including those in profound housing need. Included in these stories was the woman who had left children’s social care, not managed to pay her bills and lost her home. She felt that she’d been set up to fail by not being prepared for independence properly.
So there it is again. The wider impact of not preparing those who need it most with basic independent living skills. Here was a care-leaver, homeless at 42 and suffering immeasurably.
I happen to think this was preventable. The moral reasons for doing so are a given. But the economic ones seems pretty apparent too.