Drink and Drugs News DDN May 2020 (1) | Page 13

SWIFT SHELTER around the clock juggling appointments and re- arranging scripts and pharmacies to ensure no- one was ever without medication, while keeping the service users as safe as possible. We are working with the rough sleeping population, who have recently been moved into nine hostels across the city, to manage their scripts and ensure they have what they need, including naloxone. This could be a We’ve been doing a lot around safe storage and our workers are dropping off our lock boxes at people’s doors. and to registering with Breaking Free Online, as well as to information on our own website to help manage their mental health and self- isolation. Just like all the other hubs in North Yorkshire Horizons, we’ve made packs up for needle exchange. In each pack, there’s the usual varied sizes of needles, but also pans, swabs, vitamin C, a sharps bin and harm minimisation leaflets. Whereas before a client would come in and pick WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM critical moment to engage this population into treatment services and we want to make sure we are making the most of it. Our harm reduction team has been continuing to offer needle exchange services every day and has upped the level of outreach we are providing. We’re also doing proactive home visits with naloxone kits and clean equipment. Our Family Plus team has distributed family care packs and is offering additional support to families of service users who are struggling to cope. We didn’t know a couple of months ago that Zoom would be become an integral tool for our interventions but now, across Humankind, we have had a staggering 114 days of meetings via Zoom over the last month. Attendance at our online groups continues to grow and we are looking forward to seeing how this online community develops. It is fantastic to see what we have achieved in such a short space of time, and I know services up and down the country have also done amazing things. Lee Wilson is Humankind operations director, Leeds and choose what they needed, now they’re able to pick up the pack and not spend any more time than necessary in the building. We’ve been doing a lot around safe storage and our workers are dropping off our lock boxes at people’s doors. This means the methadone is safely locked away, which is especially important in a family situation or in homes of multiple occupancy. The feedback from the service users that we’re getting is that it’s great that we’re still in contact with them while all of this is going on – people see we haven’t forgotten their needs. I’m so proud of my team. They’ve really stepped up to the mark. We feel we’ve pulled together and learned a lot and we’re looking after each other – maybe more than ever before. I’m confident the team will rise to any challenges we are faced with in the future. Sam Thomson is a lead practitioner at the Selby hub of Humankind-led North Yorkshire Horizons service www.nyhorizons.org.uk In London a new service has been set up as a single point of contact to help homeless people, says Oliver Standing O n 26 March Luke Hall MP, minister for local government and homelessness, wrote to local authority leaders requiring them to identify people sleeping rough and support them into accommodation within 48 hours. This was part of the COVID-19 public health effort, which also mentioned additional measures around triaging people and making arrangements to meet their health and social support needs. Those sleeping rough are substantially more likely than the general population to have a drug or alcohol support need, so moving significant numbers of people into emergency hotel accommodation necessitated the rapid creation of a coordinated, ultra-flexible drug and alcohol service. In London that resulted in the Homeless Hotels Drug and Alcohol Support Service (HDAS), a collaboration commissioned by the City of London and involving South London and Maudsley (SLAM), Change Grow Live, Turning Point, and Phoenix Futures. HDAS offers a ‘single point of contact’ which means there are workers available nine to five to take enquiries and support and guide the homelessness, health and care staff working in the hotels on any drug and alcohol support needs. A clinician is then available to cover emergencies out of hours. The HDAS is also able to offer harm reduction materials including naloxone and lockboxes to those in the homeless hotel system. The rapid creation of this system to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens during the unprecedented challenge of a global pandemic is of credit to the field, and the HDAS model may prove useful to other areas of the country struggling with similar challenges. Oliver Standing is director of Collective Voice MAY 2020 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 13