St Petroc’s and Cornwall Council have been awarded £149k by the government to help stop homeless people discharged from hospital in Cornwall ending up on the streets.

St Petroc’s, a charity providing accommodation and housing related support services for single homeless people, has been awarded £65k to draw up a hospital discharge homelessness prevention protocol, with training and a full-time worker dedicated to the project.. At present almost every week someone is discharged from hospital without the support they need to maintain access or support their tenancy.

An additional £84k has been awarded to fund the lease, furnishing and maintenance of two-bedroom flats in Truro, Bodmin and Redruth, in which at-risk people can be housed when they come out of hospital, and until other arrangements can be made for their accommodation.

The two bedrooms allow for flexibility, with either two individuals needing support, or a single person and a carer.

Steve Ellis, Chief Executive of St Petroc’s, said: “The award of this grant is fantastic news for Cornwall and will allow St.Petroc's to work jointly with our colleagues in Cornwall Council and the Health service to ensure that anyone leaving hospital will not return to being street homeless, and will receive the best possible after-care.”

It is estimated that homeless people attend hospital emergency departments up to six times more than people with a home and that currently 70 per cent of homeless people are discharged back onto the street without their housing or on-going care needs after hospital being properly addressed.

Felicity Owen, director of Public Health Cornwall, said: “There are between 50 and 90 rough sleepers in Cornwall, and many of these people are admitted to hospital, often more than once across the space of a year.”

Judith Haycock, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “In today’s society, it is not acceptable that people are leaving hospital with no plans in place to address their ongoing care needs. Breaking the cycle of homeless people becoming ill, being admitted to hospital, recovering, returning to the streets and falling ill again, is an important part of caring for these people. Producing and implementing this protocol, and the provision of the three flats, is going to be key to achieving this.”