Day centres for homeless people provide daytime shelter, basic facilities and advice and support with housing and related issues. Facilities generally include hot drinks, food, showers, laundry and internet and are available to people who are rough sleeping or homeless. Day centres often offer various types of support under one roof, including casework and advice, education, training and employment services, and referral and access to health services such as a nurse.
Day centres vary widely in their aims but overall they seek to provide accessible, open-access, welcoming environments for people who are homeless, to meet their basic needs, and to provide access to support to help them move on from homelessness. Day centre teams usually include volunteers as well as paid members of staff.
There are no studies measuring the effectiveness of Day Centres
There are currently no relevant studies.
No evidence is available on which groups this intervention affects.
No evidence is available on which outcomes this intervention affects
If you are running a day centre, think about whether the location, ambience and opening hours are appropriate for your user group. Consider offering extended hours or even 24-hour access. A welcoming, comfortable and accessible environment improves engagement. Showers, laundry, storage, allowing pets, and offering additional services such as support with drug and alcohol misuse and veterinarian services can all attract people to your service.
An engaged, committed and cohesive staff team is very important for a successful day centre. Staff need to be able to communicate genuine care, respect and enthusiasm for service users. Hold regular team meetings to ensure individual cases are coherently managed.
Aim to recruit staff who reflect the age, gender and diversity of your service users. Peer mentors can also improve buy-in from service users.
If you are involved in funding day centres, try to simplify the process and reduce the administration time for staff. For example, collaborate with other commissioners to agree on the data required for effectiveness monitoring.
Missed service appointments waste resources. Keep good records of attendance to help you predict future attendance rates and identify the most effective tactics to encourage attendance (e.g. text message reminders, posters etc)