Phoenix Futures Scotland, a charity and housing association which has been helping people overcome drug and alcohol problems for more than 45 years, is developing new recovery housing schemes and looking for partners, writes Martin Adams.
Closing this gap between substance misuse treatment and homelessness benefits everyone in our communities. As both a homelessness provider and substance misuse charity Phoenix Futures Scotland have unique insight into both the problem and the solution.
On the road to better health, food and shelter are the first steps. None of us can focus on getting better in the long term if our priority is finding a safe place to sleep in a month, a week or even tonight.
When people access substance misuse treatment with an acute housing problem it hinders their progress towards a healthy life. This costs society money in substance misuse treatment that is less effective, or inaccessible, and a wide range of costs associated to homelessness and poor health.
Specialist recovery housing is the answer, housing that enhances people’s potential and supports long term recovery. It provides the mutually supportive environment and expert support people need to build their recovery.
And it is cost effective. It is conservatively estimated that someone with homelessness and substance misuse problems costs society nearly £20,000 per annum in support costs. What’s more the costs rack up year on year, for people stuck in a cycle of homelessness and substance misuse the estimated lifetime support cost per person is £250,000. However if we provide a different kind of solution to the problem we could transform lives and make enormous savings.
Specialist recovery housing can also integrate with existing local authority housing pathways, increasing capacity and unblocking the backlogs so that the system works better for everyone.
If you are interested contact Lyndsey Hague, head of operations Scotland at Lyndsey.Hague@phoenixfutures.org.uk or call 0141 336 4272.
- Martin Adams is a recovery housing worker in Glasgow Housing Services at Phoenix Futures