One of the most remarkable things about our Justlife journey over the last decade has been the striking lack of recognition, let alone knowledge, about the plight of the UK's 100,000 vulnerable homeless people living in unsupported temporary accommodation. Having established the Manchester Justlife Centre in 2010 my family took the decision to return to our home town of Brighton and in 2012, shortly before that move we began to ask some questions of Brighton & Hove and its homeless services. We discovered that the city faces many challenges with homelessness and has some outstanding services run by brilliant people, we also discovered, rather to our surprise, that there is a plethora of emergency and temporary accommodation but that the homeless services are almost entirely focussed on rough sleepers. The one council team which previously provided some support has now been cut and so now, like in Manchester, the small, grant funded Justlife service which we established is the only service which exists to directly connect with residents of this type of accommodation in Brighton.
Over the last 3 years we've been heavily invested in a research project, studying the impact of unsupported temporary accommodation (UTA) on the health & wellbeing of vulnerable adults (reports here). Through that time we've found that there has been very little learning about these communities for 20 years, there are very few services directly targeting UTA residents and we've discovered no commissioned service anywhere in the country which is designed to address the needs which we are discovering in UTA.
Justlife is very proud of the work we've done, with others, to raise the profile of this issue. We're proud of the learning we have and the reports we've published with Institute of Public Policy and Research (North), and we are committed to helping to get the recommendations implemented in towns, cities and communities up and down the country. But we are far from having this covered. This a problem affecting over 100,000 people in the UK and we are currently supporting less than 2% of them every year with grant funded services which have a relatively short life cycle. We are a small organisation with less than 25 staff working across two cities, we need to work with other providers and third sector organisations, national government and local authorities, landlords and businesses, funders and commissioners to make sustainable system change possible.
Supporting Justlife will help us to make real and lasting system change as well as providing frontline service to hundreds of people in need everyday.