London Regional Homelessness Engagement and Support Team (RHEST) is a newly commissioned service operating as part of a Pan-London Pathway aimed at improving access to drug and alcohol treatment, and in particular, inpatient treatment, for people who sleep rough.
The team will work across the London boroughs with individuals who are or have been sleeping rough and who require support to access drug and alcohol treatment. We will:
- Assertively engage with individuals through outreach and in-reach;
- Assess barriers to drug and alcohol treatment for each individual;
- Deliver focused, time-limited interventions that improve access to services;
- Collaborate with a range of agencies to improve outcomes.
We’ll be taking referrals from all London boroughs, then completing a short, focused assessment to identify the individual’s goals and current barriers to accessing support and treatment. The team will be focused on coordinating services engaged with the person and bringing in additional services as needed, moving people rapidly into treatment. Our work will take place in hostels, hotels, hospitals, day centers, and occasionally on the street. Interventions will be time-limited, focused, and underpinned by motivational techniques. We’ll provide practical help to get to appointments, access food or clothing, or register with primary care services if that’s what’s holding somebody back. Our collaborative approach will ensure wrap-around support that is adapted to the needs of each person.
The team will include peer volunteers, and we’re aiming for a strong service user voice. We consulted some of the people we work with when we were developing the service model, and have consulted again when deciding on its name. We’ll continue to gather feedback throughout the duration of the project and use it to shape and continuously improve.