In 2021, Justlife hired a Health Engagement Worker (HEW) to work specifically with people who have been placed out of area (OOA). The role was a pilot, established in agreement between Justlife and Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness being placed by BHCC in neighbouring East Sussex.
The idea behind establishing this role was that people experiencing homelessness, who are placed out of Brighton, have the same needs as those placed within the city but lose much needed support through physical distance. Regardless of the location of the accommodation, the clients have a variety of needs, depending on their health and mental health status, disability, substance misuse, trauma and their prior experience with services. Through the OOA HEW, at least some of that support would continue.
During this year, the OOA HEW worked with a total of 19 clients, supporting them in many different ways. For this report, we interviewed 8 of these people to find out what their experiences were of being placed out of area, and what difference having this OOA Specialist Support Worker made to them.