On World Homeless Day 2016 I find myself reflecting on the power of the nurse to be the voice of compassion, wisdom, courage and humanity that we need to overcome a public mental health crisis.

In the UK, due to a dangerous combination of property shortage, high rents, and greater income instability, homelessness is on the rise. Manchester, for example, has seen a tenfold increase in the number of people sleeping rough since 2010[i] and other cities are reporting similar stories. We know that good health is critical to maintaining a stable income, breakdown in health and support can lead to income and housing crisis. And we know that homelessness is bad for your mental health – 91% of people sleeping rough report mental health difficulties[ii]

The QNI have begun by signing St Mungo’s Stop the Scandal campaign to ensure people with mental health needs are given support to prevent them from sleeping rough. We encourage nurses to do the same here.

This October, we want nurses to share their stories of homeless healthcare because we’d like them to feel proud of the work they do.  We need them to stand up loud and be the voice for their patients because they can inspire positive changes for their patients.

If you are a nurse working with someone experiencing homelessness, the QNI is inviting you to share what you do on World Homeless Day on October 10th 2016. It may be a special event, or a regular clinic, outreach service, screening or immunisation or public health training but whatever you are up to we’d like to hear about it and share it with others.

Set a reminder to join us on Twitter on October 10th and tweet a message/photo sharing what you or your team are doing this World Homeless Day using the hashtags #WHD16 and #qnihh

David Parker-Radford, QNI Homeless Health Project Manager.


[i] The Guardian, 2016, Surge in Rough Sleepers Outside London

[ii] Homeless Link, 2016, Mental Health conditions among the homeless population


Taking blood from a homeless man
A nurse and homeless person at a clinic

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