authorities and other agencies, aims to ensure better support and
easier access to drug services for homeless people.
and drug misuse as they develop drug services at a local level.
The new guidance highlights how existing mainstream services can be
adapted to ensure homeless people can access them and explores the
potential to develop specialist services for them. These services
range from housing support and family mediation through to harm
minimisation, detoxification and rehabilitation.
Research has found that homelessness and drug misuse are often
closely linked with around 75% of single homeless people misusing
drugs. As the DATs develop their commissioning plans for the coming
year, and local authorities develop homelessness strategies, it will
be essential that there is local co-ordination between them to ensure
that services are joined up, so that this vulnerable group of people
is not excluded from services.
Barbara Roche, minister for social exclusion and equality, said:
'This handbook will prove extremely helpful to drug action teams and
local authorities in their work to provide services for homeless
people addicted to drugs. Tackling drug misuse is a key part of our
work to tackle homelessness more effectively.' Home office minister,
Bob Ainsworth added:
'I urge the drug action teams to read this handbook and to learn from
the good practice within it. There is already much good work going on
around the country, so DATs do not have to start from scratch in
developing services. The important thing is that they consider the
needs of all people in their area when commissioning services - and
that includes homeless people.'
The other partners in the development of the handbook - the
Department of Health and the National Treatment Agency - also
welcomed its potential to help DATs and other commissioners of
services ensure that treatment is effective and appropriate for
Chief executive of the NTA, Paul Hayes said: 'The government has a
commitment to increase access to drug treatment services for all
people. Homeless people have, in the past, often been excluded from
treatment through the lack of understanding of this client group and
their needs. This handbook shows that steps can be taken to ensure
that homeless people can not only access treatment, but that the
treatment is effective and linked in to appropriate aftercare support
1. The handbook has been jointly commissioned and produced by a
cross-departmental team including the homelessness directorate in the
ODPM, drug strategy directorate in the Home Office, the National
Treatment Agency and the Department of Health. It has been written by
Geoffrey Randall, a specialist in homelessness issues, and DrugScope,
the leading researcher on drug policy in England.
2. DATs are the local delivery partnership of the drug strategy. They
work at area level to develop a range of effective services on the
ground to tackle the use and supply of drugs. Made up of key local
bodies such as police, probation, social services, education and
health, they commission and monitor services, set local delivery
strategies, and report to central government on progress and
3. The document will be sent to every DAT and local authority, as
well as other interested homelessness and drug agencies. It is
available free of charge on the ODPM website.
4. From 18 December it will also be available in hard copy, free of
charge, from the ODPM's Free Literature base. Telephone 0870 1207
405. Address: PO Box 236, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7NB.