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Local authorities to improve housing support for people in drug and alcohol treatment

28 local authorities across England will receive funds to help people in drug and alcohol treatment.

07/02/23

Local authorities to improve housing support for people in drug and alcohol treatment

People in alcohol and drug recovery will soon have access to housing support, the government has announced.

Up to £53 million will be allocated to 28 local authorities across all regions of England with the greatest need.

The government hopes the funds will help to break the cycle of addiction and improve health outcomes.

The funding will allow for local authorities to create new housing support schemes tailored to meet local need.

People in treatment for drug and alcohol dependence are often easier to support if their housing needs are addressed at the same time, as there is a strong link between having a stable home and improved treatment outcomes.

The funds will be used for specialist housing caseworkers to support people in drug and alcohol treatment to access and maintain safe and suitable housing, as well as helping people to create sustainable and long-term recovery by maintaining independent living.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, said the funds will address the link between improved treatment outcomes and a stable home.

Health Minister, Neil O’Brien, added: “Alcohol and drug dependence can have a devastating impact on the lives of people, their families and wider society. It is essential to break this cycle of addiction.”

“The £53 million housing support funding will play a key role in testing how housing can help break this cycle, improve recovery and help people to live happier and healthier lives.”

Dan Carden, Labour MP for Walton, said the links between stable housing and recovery were “strong”.

“When you live in a safe and supportive home-environment, change is possible.

“I am pleased to see this critical recommendation of Dame Carol Black's Independent Review of Drugs being actioned.”

In Manchester, specialist housing caseworkers will work out of 3 prevention hubs to be established across the city, providing a rapid response to housing issues that may affect people in substance misuse treatment securing or maintaining accommodation over the long term.

In Lancashire, staff from across housing, drug and alcohol and health services will receive a programme of training to develop skills in substance misuse and housing related support and to will create a joined-up system across other organisations and public services, offering an improved experience for people experiencing homelessness.

In Wigan, peer mentors with past experience of drug and alcohol treatment will provide support to people struggling to maintain independent living to sustain their accommodation and improve recovery outcomes.

These projects will also expand our evidence base on treatment and recovery, with learnings helping to inform and develop future policy, in partnership with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

“The need for better housing and employment support for people dependent on drugs and alcohol is a core part of the current 10-year national drugs strategy,” Director of Addictions and Inclusion, Rosanna O’Connor, said. “We have known, for too long, that people in drug treatment with housing problems do less well in their recovery. What we know less about is how to address these problems.”

“The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are working closely with 28 local authorities up until 2025 to test and learn from specific approaches to housing support for this population, and government will take the learning from these areas forward as part of its work to implement the drugs strategy.”

The announcement comes after the recommendations from Dame Carol Black’s independent review, outlining housing support as a key strand needed to improve the effectiveness of drug prevention and treatment to help more people recover from dependence.

The review proposed more than 30 recommendations, including a specialist Joint Combating Drugs Unit and a new strategy to increase the number of professionally qualified drug treatment staff – including social workers – and developing and implementing an action plan to improve mental health treatment of people with drug dependence.

Dame Carol Black, who authored the report, said addressing the housing-related needs of people in treatment with drug and alcohol dependence was a critical part of her review.

“I am pleased that government is working with 28 local authorities across England to test the effectiveness of housing support interventions over the next 3 years.

“Learning from these areas will inform and drive forward the 10-year drugs strategy, making the case for safe and supportive housing in recovery from addiction.”

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