Extra help for rough sleepers with drug and alcohol dependency

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  • £23 million investment for 43 areas this year, boosted by a further £52 million in 2021 to 2022
  • Initial £10 million funding confirmed to provide extra accommodation for rough sleepers throughout winter

Rough sleepers across England will receive extra support to help them recover from drug and alcohol misuse, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Kelly Tolhurst MP announced today (14 December 2020).

Forty-three areas across England will receive support from a £23 million government fund designed for those with drug and alcohol support needs to get the help they need to rebuild their lives. The programme will be boosted by a further £52 million in 2021 to 2022.

Rough sleepers who are being provided with emergency accommodation during the pandemic as part of the government’s ‘Everyone In’ programme, and people who are currently rough sleeping, will be eligible for support.

In partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care, and managed by Public Health England, the funding will enable them to access drug and alcohol treatment, including detox and rehabilitation services.

This will be alongside wraparound support, such as access to mental health and substance dependence workers and peer mentors, who are key to working with vulnerable people in treatment services.

The minister has also confirmed an initial £10 million funding for nineteen areas, plus the Greater London Authority, under the government’s £15 million ‘Protect Programme’. This is to provide accommodation for rough sleepers during the pandemic in areas that required extra support during the restrictions and throughout winter.

Taken together, government spending on rough sleeping and homelessness this year is over £700 million, with the ‘Everyone In’ campaign helping to protect thousands of lives during the pandemic by housing rough sleepers in safe accommodation.

Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Kelly Tolhurst said:

We know that one of the main issues facing those sleeping rough, or at risk of homelessness, is misuse of drugs or alcohol and what a crippling effect these substances have on people’s lives.

While our ‘Everyone In’ campaign has helped to protect thousands of lives, we still need to work hard to break the cycle of rough sleeping for good.

This funding will provide thousands of vulnerable people with the support they need to get on the road to recovery to rebuild their lives away from the streets for good.

Health Minister Jo Churchill said:

The need to support the most vulnerable groups in society has never been more important or more apparent than this year.

We are committed to supporting those who want to break the cycle of addiction.

This funding will not only help those personally fighting addiction, but also benefit their loved ones and the communities who suffer from the often very difficult consequences of substance misuse.

Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco and Justice at Public Health England said:

Those sleeping rough with substance misuse problems can find it difficult to access services that can help them – their health continues to deteriorate and it becomes harder for them to turn their lives around.

This grant will help people who sleep rough struggling with addiction to improve their health and break this pattern and we are looking forward to seeing the positive impact this will have now and in the future.

Further information

A full breakdown of funding allocations for the substance misuse fund is available here:

Barnet £286,598
Bedford £222,563
Birmingham £792,075
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole £494,218
Brent £389,423
Brighton and Hove £354,035
Bristol £711,064
Cambridge £403,839
Camden £349,980
Cornwall £841,495
Croydon £480,955
Dorset £306,713
Ealing £454,688
Enfield £271,339
Hackney and the City £642,445
Haringey £256,360
Hillingdon £171,665
Islington £498,493
Kingston £354,595
Lambeth £326,858
Leeds £560,903
Lewisham £449,839
Liverpool £490,957
Luton £409,881
Manchester £854,310
Milton Keynes £243,160
Newham £601,960
Northamptonshire £367,234
Oxford £584,834
Peterborough £310,300
Portsmouth £682,243
Preston £551,173
Reading £473,123
Redbridge £192,964
Richmond £178,895
Sheffield £373,398
Southampton £469,603
Southend £317,818
Southwark £339,245
Tower Hamlets £615,285
Wandsworth £293,729
Westminster £1,124,541
Pan-London Inpatient Detox Provision £402,580
Pan-London Homelessness Drug and Alcohol Service £77,600

A full breakdown of funding allocations for the Protect Programme is available here:

Local Authority Allocation
City of Bristol £                565,671.00
Brighton and Hove £                106,255.00
Cornwall £                591,444.00
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole £                337,000.00
Manchester £                453,965.00
Salford £                372,500.00
Leicester £                299,915.00
Birmingham £                430,000.00
London  
London (GLA) £                  3,955,571
Westminster £                856,916.00
Islington £                128,500.00
Hillingdon £                  80,500.00
Camden £                209,025.00
Ealing £                200,000.00
Southwark £                411,150.00
City of London £                174,069.00
Newham £                303,000.00
Tower Hamlets £                196,296.00
Lambeth £                141,600.00
Total £             9,813,377.00

Over the past year alone, 61% of those sleeping rough in London said they needed help with addiction problems, with 39% reporting alcohol misuse and a further 39% reporting drug misuse.

The department has also today published the initial findings a survey of more than 500 rough sleepers, to build a better understanding of people who sleep rough, their support needs, and the associated costs.

The findings show that the vast majority (96%) of the respondents experienced another support need in addition to sleeping rough, such as physical or mental health vulnerabilities, substance misuse support needs, time spent in prison or having been a victim of domestic abuse or a recent victim of crime, while 91% had been affected by two or more of these issues.

The research also found that the estimated average annual cost of an individual that sleeps rough was £12,260, compared with £3,100 for all individuals of a similar age, who can access comparable services.

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