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Homeless people’s lives are at risk because of funding cuts

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Lives of homeless people are reportedly at risk due to decades of cuts

Every day in England and Wales a homeless person dies from suicide, drugs or alcohol, but potentially life-saving assistance is underfunded, according to new figures in the Salvation Army report.

The government has committed to spending at least £640m a year to tackle homelessness by 2024. Churches and charities call this a game changer, but only if at least half the money is invested in support services, especially mental health and addiction treatment.

A Salvation Army study found that the number of homeless people with mental health and addiction issues has risen over the past decade, while funding for treatment and support has shrunk.

Here is a diagram:

  • Homeless deaths from drug addiction jumped 112%, and funding for addiction services fell 12% since 2013.
  • Funding for mental health services has also fallen by 27% over the past decade, but available figures for the number of homeless people with mental health problems show a 19% increase since 2018. .

Will Neville, 33, from Oldbury in the West Midlands, first as a former resident of the Salvation Army Lifehouse Hostel in Birmingham and now as a manager there, has seen the homeless from “both sides of the fence.” he said:

“I attempted suicide twice when I was homeless and had drug addiction and alcohol problems. I know what is common.

“Ring-fencing funding for addiction and mental health services is the only way to adequately address the many reasons that lead to a homelessness spiral that is so difficult to recover from.

“We know local governments see value in addiction and mental health services, but so far what they can do is limited. They have a legal obligation to help homeless people. But this is only for housing, so it’s no wonder mental health and addiction services are declining.

“My recovery was in part due to the addiction support services embedded where I was staying. This is part of what we call the “harm reduction” approach. I have seen so many lives change in this way, and government figures show that harm reduction strategies work.

“To end homelessness and reverse the rising trend of preventable deaths from suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, the government is helping local governments prioritize funded services to address the causes of homelessness. Keeping someone off the streets is only partially solved by providing them with a place to stay.”

Wayne has been homeless since he was 15. He was depressed, lonely, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and had attempted suicide several times. Now 50, he lives in a housing First Salvation Army apartment that provides stable homes with professional support for long-term homeless with addiction and mental health problems. .

Wayne said: Living on the streets, you can’t see a way out. You’re alone in a miserable sea, with your boots dragging you down, and you don’t stand a chance.

“When I was trying to get help, I was always hitting a brick wall. It’s a complete minefield. I know too.They’re overwhelmed by it.They can’t find a way out and they’re fed up and want to run away.They’re on medication all the time trying to block it.I have seen it happen over and over again.”

The Salvation Army report also recommends:

  • Mental health and addiction support is part of the local government’s homeless strategy, and targets are set for the number of homeless people to whom mental health and addiction support is provided, along with existing targets for accommodation. I’m here.
  • Cities and territories with high homelessness have introduced a sleep deprivation population recording system (CHAIN ​​statistic), similar to London, which provides detailed information on the number of homeless people needing support for drug, alcohol and mental health problems. Information is provided. .
  • Local governments should allocate funds appropriately to different services by producing statistics that can show the level of homelessness locally and nationally and how much money they are spending to support different groups of homeless people. should be able to


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