Information for the public

Support for people experiencing homelessness

People who experience homelessness have much poorer health and are more likely to die earlier than the general population. Many of these deaths are preventable. Often the problems that led to a person becoming homeless also make it harder for them to get help, such as experiencing stigma and discrimination, a lack of close family and friends for support, and inflexible or poorly organised services.

We want this guideline to make a difference to people who are experiencing homelessness by making sure:

  • there is long-term support from a coordinated team looking after their health and social care and working with others to help with housing needs
  • people are helped to understand their rights, know how to register with a GP and know about other services and organisations that can help them
  • people can talk to and get help and advice from people who have been homeless themselves
  • services work more flexibly, for example, by taking care and support directly to people in their local area (called outreach).

Better support and communication

Staff and services working with people who are homeless should work to build trusting relationships with them, provide clear information that they can understand, and help them to get in touch, and stay in touch, with services. They should also:

  • treat people with respect and without judgement
  • continue to offer support even if people have refused it before or not been in contact with services for a while
  • make sure people know how to get help with their health and social care and are given support to do this, and are given a longer appointment if they need it.

Where can I find out more?

The organisations below can provide more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by homelessness and staff who support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-4475-0

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