Routes Home helps non-UK nationals who are sleeping rough in London and need specialist advice and support to resolve their homelessness. We supported them in finding new ways to help vulnerable adults off the streets.
Routes Home is a service commissioned by the Greater London Authority and run by St. Mungo’s. They asked Designit for help understanding and improving the complex process of connecting their clients with services and benefits, and rebuilding their lives.
Finding a permanent and safe place to live can be a complicated and lengthy process, involving many different organisations and people across the globe, from health and social services, to other charities, and family members. Routes Home had never fully mapped out the extent of their service’s role in a person’s journey, and needed a better overview of the process – and wanted a deeper understanding from both the Routes Home team and their clients’ point of view. Through shadowing and interviews with both staff and clients, we helped Routes Home map the whole journey an individual might take. By defining actors, touchpoints, pain points and feelings for each step, we uncovered three key challenges and opportunities for improvement.
Some clients felt a ‘shock’ to the system after voluntarily returning to their home countries and struggled with a number of day-to-day activities, such as paying bills. Pre-paid postcards could help clients stay in contact and receive support throughout the transition. We also suggested the team create an online database to quickly check a client’s rights and benefits in their home country or the UK, without having to wait on slower third parties. Lastly, the team wanted to help clients be involved more fully with the process of exploring their options and identifying the best route off the street. A deck of cards could break down the complex process of finding a safe and permanent place to live, and facilitate conversations between clients and Routes Home staff.
The three concepts were presented at an international conference on homelessness as best-practice examples of user-friendly and high-impact tools. St Mungo’s has selected the facilitation cards to use across their services, and throughout the UK, and is securing funding to bring the concept to life.