With the growing pressures being faced in tackling the worsening state of homelessness, Bury Labour is trying to be innovative in its approach to tackling homelessness and the issues surrounding it.
The key to tackling homelessness is not just finding a building but also tackling the wider determinants, especially health and wellbeing. Bury Labour is breaking new ground and has ensured that the Council is the first nationally to become “homeless friendly”.
The average life expectancy of a homeless person is 47 years. A significant reason for this is that many homeless people struggle to access appropriate health care. In Bury, many homeless people have ended up going to Fairfield or one of the Manchester Hospitals to receive medical advice and treatment after surgeries turn them away.
Following the adoption of the homeless friendly scheme though, all GP surgeries have signed up to remove the obstacles to accessing healthcare.
At the recent launch the first homeless people received their cards Bury Council, Homeless Friendly and BARDOC launched an “access to health” card. This is to be given to Bury’s homeless people. If the person is experiencing issues they can telephone the number on the card which is staffed 24hours a day for advice, ranging from which GP’s are Homeless Friendly to local dentists, to how to access support from the local authority and what support is available locally.
Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Andrea Simpson, praised the scheme, saying: “This initiative is making a difference to local people and giving people the medical care and attention they deserve and have a right to. The scheme is now developing in other areas and it is great to see Bury leading the way and I will give further updates as the work unfolds.”