acquiesce - April 25th, 2021

Government Announce More Help for Rough Sleepers with Drug and Alcohol Dependency

On 14 December 2020, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Kelly Tolhurst MP announced that rough sleepers across England will receive extra support to help them recover from drugs and alcohol misuse. 

With a £23 million fund, the government’s aim is to offer support to those with drug and alcohol addictions in forty-three areas across England by getting them the help and treatment they need in order to recover and rebuild their lives. The programme is set to increase by an additional £52 million between 2021 and 2022, bringing the total funding to £75 million, giving rough sleepers access to drug and alcohol treatment including detox, rehabilitation services, mental health and substance dependence workers and peer mentors.

This comes as the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, issued a warning about the homelessness crisis over the Christmas period and called for Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to stick to his pledge to end rough sleeping, claiming the country is at ‘the tip of an iceberg’ of poverty following the coronavirus pandemic.

Both people who are currently sleeping rough on the streets and any rough sleepers who have received emergency accommodation throughout the pandemic as part of the ‘Everyone In’ programme will be eligible for the support. 

In her announcement of the programme, 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.”

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

“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.”

The following table shows a full breakdown of funding allocations for the substance misuse fund:

Local Authority Allocation
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
Pre-London Commissioning Function £97,970


Research from Crisis
revealed that over 200,000 families and individuals in England experienced the worst forms of homelessness over the Christmas period in 2020 and that many people who were already living with financial difficulties struggled even more as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, pushing them over the brink into homelessness.

In just 2020 alone, 61% of people sleeping rough in London said they needed help with addiction. 39% of those reported alcohol misuse and 39% reported drug misuse. Following a recent survey conducted by the government of over 500 rough sleepers, it was found that the great majority (96%) of respondents said they had experienced additional needs for support on top of sleeping rough including:

  • Physical vulnerabilities.
  • Mental health problems.
  • Substance misuse support needs.
  • Time in prison. 
  • Having been a victim of domestic abuse or a recent victim of crime.

91% of respondents claimed they have been affected by two or more of these problems. According to the research, the average annual cost of someone who sleeps rough is £12,260, compared to the average cost of people of a similar age with access to support services which is £3,100.

Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol can be both a cause and consequence of homelessness. According to Crisis, two thirds of homeless people cite drug or alcohol use a reason for why they first became homeless, with those who use drugs being seven times more likely to be homeless. For those who cited other reasons for becoming homeless, it wasn’t uncommon for them to use alcohol and drugs as a coping method due to the high levels of stress and mental health problems in homeless people.

Mental health plays a huge part in addiction. Nobody wakes up one day and decides they are going to become dependent on drugs or alcohol. Many addictions begin with common actions such as having an alcoholic drink to reduce the symptoms of anxiety in a social situation, progressing to having a drink whenever they feel anxious and then eventually becoming dependent on the substance in order to function. 

At Acquiesce, we realise that alcohol and drug addictions are what many individuals are using as a solution to the mental health problems they may be experiencing, such as money problems, family issues and homelessness. 

We offer a number of rehabilitation programmes that include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and the 12 steps based approaches which compliment each other well. Our Urban Recovery Rehab model allows individuals to implement and practice these recovery approaches in the real world, giving them the skills that will help them to treat their addiction day-to-day on a more practical level, which in turn supports them to live by their new recovery focused code of behaviour.

If you believe you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our helpful team members for a free, confidential consultation. For more information, read about our different programmes here.

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