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Inequalities are very real for people experiencing homelessness

Across all forms of health care needs, both physical and mental, as well as access to necessary support, people experiencing homelessness report poorer diagnoses and greater barriers to the healthcare needed than the general population. We must understand why this is and address the systemic change needed.

Understanding the challenges facing people who are homeless

Homeless Link developed the Health Needs Audit tool for use with communities of people who have experienced homelessness. The audit has been carried out across dozens of local authorities and health authorities.

The results have been collated into our groundbreaking publication series, the "Unhealthy State of Homelessness" which some of the best research published about the challenged facing people who are homeless.

Get started with the Health Needs Audit

For over a decade, organisations around the country have used the Homeless Health Needs Audit (HHNA) to help understand the health inequalities faced by people experiencing homelessness in their area.

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Findings from the Homeless Health Needs Audit

The Unhealthy State of Homelessness 2022 presents findings from 31 Homeless Health Needs Audits (HHNAs), representing 2,776 individuals. It builds on the learning from our 2014 report, presenting up to date information on the health of people experiencing homelessness, and exploring what we know about whether the right services are available to adequately meet people’s needs.

Health inequality

People experiencing homelessness suffer from worse physical and mental health than the general population

Long-term illness and disability

Between 2018 – 2021 63% of respondents reported they had a long term illness, disability or infirmity

Mental health

The number of people with a mental health diagnosis has increased substantially from 45% in 2014 to 82% in the 2018 – 2021 cohort

Drugs and alcohol

45% of respondents reported they are self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to help them cope with their mental health

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Jo Prestidge

Head of National Practice Development

Jo is Head of National Practice Development at Homeless Link.