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Special Interest Group for Homelessness, Housing and Health

The members believe that access to decent affordable housing is a fundamental right and that homelessness is a continuum ranging from rooflessness to being in poor quality housing.

The group works towards the elimination of homelessness by campaigning on behalf of people who are homeless and in housing need and influencing the policy making process.

Aims and Objectives






Aims and Objectives

The Special Interest Group for Health, Homeless and Housing (SIGH) of the CPHVA was established in 1985, against a background of growing concern about the decline in low cost housing and consequent increase in the numbers of people, especially families, in temporary or otherwise unsuitable accommodation, SIGH believes in a broad definition of homelessness and its aim is ‘’To improve health care for homeless families and to raise awareness of their problems’’.

  • To raise awareness of issues in relation to health, housing and homelessness at regional, national and international level.

  • To act as a resource for health visitors and school nurses, community practitioners and other agencies.

  • To provie a support network by sharing information through structures set up by SIGH in conjunction with the CPHVA

  • Campaigning in order to influence national policies.

  • To co-ordinate responses to government policy

  • To make a positive contribution to the reduction of homelessness and its importance, in Britain

  • To encourage partnerships between agencies

  • To produce guidelines for good practice to encourage a multi-agency response


SIGH members meet quarterly and meetings are organised around different themes. In the past we have held Study Days looking at Public Health and Policy, Mainstream versus Specialism in Healthcare and User Involvement, as well as involving members about legislation around housing and fitness standards.


We are a research focused group and members present their local and regional research on homeless and housing, members also actively participate in research studies, proffering their expertise and knowledge on behalf of homeless people. Recently, SIGH has made links with the Compass Project in the US and members have taken part in a comparative study of family homelessness in the US and UK. SIGH members also act more and more on a consultative basis both regionally and nationally. This ranges from advising new workers in the homeless field, practical information on starting up new projects, and informing Government Departments.


We also provide specific information on working with different groups within the homeless population e.g. young people, refugees, asylum seekers and women and children.        



‘’This has been yet another busy year for the Health, Homeless and Housing Group. Our greatest achievement has been to develop the Guidelines for Good Practice which will be used by staff, particularly in the Primary Care Trusts. Our greatest challenge for the coming year is to highlight family homelessness in terms of policy and we are planning a national conference on Family Homelessness in February 2001. Membership has continued to reflect the diversity and work generated by the complex needs of homeless people. Members are drawn from the housing, environmental health, mental health and primary care sectors as well as health authorities, which makes for challenging and stimulating discussions.

We are maintaining our campaigning and lobbying goals by feeding into the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Homelessness. The group recently responded to the consultative Green Paper on housing and this will be available for members to consider in their own specialist areas. Much energy has been spent during the last year on refocusing the work of the group and informing members of the need to consider the wider implications of poor housing and prevention. The group continues to support and advise members, and is constantly asked for information on setting up new projects, recent research and the needs of asylum seekers. We will continue to lobby hard for all groups of homeless people".  



" Raising awareness of issues in relation to health and homelessness at local and national level

" Networking and supporting members

" Influencing policy


Expectation of SIG's

"Presentation at CPHVA Annual Conference

"Presentations at other conferences

"Community Practitioner journal articles

"External articles

"Report to the Professional Committee


CPHVA/Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Homelessness Directorate - Homelessness Project - Community fund awards for work with homeless families. Guidelines

SIGH Link Worker Scheme

Response to the Green Paper ''OUR HEALTHIER NATION"


Meetings and Expenses

Each SIG is expected to hold four meetings per year, this can include telephone conferences
Travel expenses can be claimed by CPHVA/MSF members only. The cost of extra meetings (above four) and attendance at other conferences/seminars must be met from SIG funds
Expense forms should contain all receipts where possible and must include a receipt for any claim of £10 and above. The Treasurer (Cherie Cottle) will have copies of the claim form


Membership is £15.00 pounds per annum. Members will receive an information pack containing responses to government documents and a membership list. Members are then able to network and gain support from one another. A regional link system also operates and regional meetings are being developed.

How to Join

Please complete the Membership Form or alternatively contact



Co-Chair -
Hesa Primary Care Centre
50 Station Road
Middlesex, UB3 4DD
Tel: 0795 862 7793

Co-Chair -
Balham Health Centre
Bedford Hill
SW12 9HP
Tel: 020 87000609/0623
Fax: 020 87000623
Mobile: 07796330461


Secretary and Membership Secretary -
Blackpool PCT
Health Team for the Homeless
Social Services Area Office, South King Street, Blackpool, FY1 4TR
Tel: 01253 476806

Treasurer -
Addlestone Health Centre
45 Station Road
KT15 2BH
Tel: 01932 846263


All Party Parliamentary Group
Marie Vickers
5, Trinity Road, Headington Quarry
Oxford, OX3 8LQ
Tel: 01865 763282