With the latest statistics showing that 17 per cent of people who seek treatment for drugs and alcohol are experiencing housing issues , the correlation between insecure housing and substance use is sadly as strong as ever . The evidence consistently shows that people in treatment with access to safe and affordable accommodation , and appropriate support to help them remain in their home , stand a far greater chance of recovering from substance use .
As one of the largest drug and alcohol treatment providers in the UK , Humankind is primarily known for its work in substance use but we ’ ve also been working in the housing sector for more than 20 years . For decades , we ’ ve been using our experience of delivering commissioned services to develop a range of programmes and projects that help get people in a variety of situations into suitable housing , build a secure life and
It ’ s time to take a holistic approach to housing , says Claire McCreanor
stay in their home .
NOWHERE TO GO
In December 2021 , Shelter estimated that 274,000 people were experiencing homelessness and of those approximately 2,700 were sleeping rough . Humankind believes that no one should be without a roof over their head , and we ’ re proud to be part of initiatives such as No Second Night Out in Bradford which aims to provide short-term emergency accommodation for people who are sleeping rough and connect them to longer-term options . Split across two sites near the city centre , No Second Night Out provides beds for up to 32 people who have nowhere else to go . The programme , which Humankind delivers on behalf of Bradford City Council , started in 2015 at a site called Discovery House which has 20 beds that anyone who is experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless can access . Following the success at that location , Humankind was commissioned last year to open another ten-bed facility offering private rooms , including space for couples . At a time when suitable properties were hard to come by , we took the innovative approach of turning an old pub into a new centre called Endeavour House .
Unlike many shelter spaces which operate on a night-by-night basis , people are able to stay at both Endeavour and Discovery for up to a month . This allows staff time to build relationships with the guests and help connect them to services such as Change Grow Live ’ s substance use hub New Directions , work and skills training and longer-term housing options , therefore increasing the chance of people building sustainable lives once they move on . In addition to these year-round spaces , we also offer cold weather provision which includes emergency beds that are available in particularly inclement conditions . Since 2015 , Bradford No Second Night Out has accommodated more than a thousand people , including MC .
MC ’ S STORY
MC had substance use and physical health issues and started sleeping rough after being discharged from hospital . MC was connected to the Bradford homeless outreach team by the hospital and they found
him accommodation at Endeavour House . While staying at the service , Humankind staff worked closely with the New Directions team to help MC successfully access support to overcome his substance use issues and improve his general wellbeing and within two weeks they secured long term supported housing for him .
Last month , Humankind celebrated our tenth anniversary as a registered provider of social housing and in that time we ’ ve provided homes for almost 500 people . In addition to operating housing , over the last 20 years we ’ ve helped approximately 2,500 people to live independently through our housing related support services programme . To date , we ’ ve refurbished 85 dilapidated properties and turned them into specialist supported housing including hostels , shared houses , one-bed flats and family homes . Many of the residents who move into our properties face issues such as unemployment , substance use , domestic violence , mental health concerns , physical disabilities , anti-social behaviour , or are leaving care .
Private landlords are often reluctant to let properties to people experiencing challenges such as these and the situation is worsening , with recent government
18 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • JUNE 2022 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM