The purpose of this paper is to consider evidence for the effectiveness of the psychologically informed environments (PIEs) approach to working with homeless people in the five years since the national guidance was published.
The author reviewed the intended outcomes of the original guidance and then looked at a range of data from evaluations of current PIE services in UK and Ireland.
The findings were that the PIE approach is effective in meeting the outcomes suggested by the original guidance; in reducing social exclusion and improving the mental health of homeless people; and in improving staff morale and interactions.
This is a practice-based evidence. There needs to be more practice-based evidence gathered, and it would be useful if there were some standardised measures, as long as these did not limit the richness of the data which suggests that PIEs have a wide, not narrow, impact.
The implications are that homelessness services should use the PIE approach, and that they should be supported by clinically trained psychotherapists or psychologists; and that wider mental health services should look at the PIE approach in terms of working effectively with socially excluded people with complex needs/mental health problems.
PIEs are an effective way of working with socially excluded people with mental health problems/complex needs, enabling the reduction of social exclusion among this very excluded client group.
This is the first review of evidence, much of it so far unpublished, for the effectiveness of PIEs, despite the fact that this approach has been increasingly adopted by both providers and commissioners in the homelessness sector.
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