Launch of new Toolkit on World Autism Day
Today – World Autism Awareness Day – sees the launch of an Autism and Homelessness Toolkit aimed at staff working in the homelessness and supported housing sectors in England.
Emerging research suggests that autistic people may be at higher risk of becoming homeless, yet there is still little awareness of this link and, as a result, very limited autism-specific support for the homeless population. The new Toolkit builds on recent work by Homeless Link and Resources for Autism to help address this problem. Its aim is to familiarise frontline workers with autism and give them ideas, tools and strategies to help homeless people who are or could be autistic.
Proposed and supported editorially by 2020health’s Jon Paxman, the Toolkit project was set in motion in October 2018 by St Mungo’s and Westminster City Council, and expertly led by Dr Alasdair Churchard, a clinical psychologist who recently co-led the first peer-reviewed study into autism and homelessness.
The project engaged a multi-disciplinary steering group, whose members provided both research oversight and a range of materials for inclusion in the Toolkit. The project benefitted enormously from the support of the National Autistic Society, St Mungo’s, Homeless Link, Resources for Autism, City of Westminster, Change Communication and individual experts, including people with lived experience.
All organisations and individuals involved in producing the Toolkit gave their time, expertise and materials free of charge.