£75m announced for rough sleepers with drug and alcohol dependency

Rough sleepers across England will receive extra support to help them recover from drug and alcohol misuse.

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

The Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing said 43 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 the extra support.

Announced by the Ministry for Housing, in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care – and managed by Public Health England – the funding will enable people 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 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.

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.

“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.”

Steve Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s said: “Our own Knocked Back research published earlier this year shows how it has become increasingly difficult for people sleeping rough to access the substance misuse services they need. We also found that drug overdoses were one of the main causes of death of people who do sleep rough.

We are pleased that the government is targeting funding to tackle this urgent issue alongside other efforts to reduce the number of people sleeping on the streets.”

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