Half Way There

This project is for clients who are dependant on alcohol and who wish to stabilise their use of alcohol and start a medicated withdrawal programme.

We take single homeless rough sleepers from all London Boroughs and offer accommodation with support through the process of titration stabilising their alcohol use.

We offer this service only to those who want to engage with the service.  We manage budgets for all our clients, reducing the risk of purchasing alcohol.

We work with the local Drug and Alcohol teams who provide training, information and advice to our clients, and aims to help us to deliver a service that aims to tackle the problems that alcohol use cause to individuals, families and communities. We facilitate registration with a local GP and assist with benefit claims.

We also have a dry house where our clients who have completed the detox programme and can start to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society.

Weekly timetables involves attendance at the therapy programme , one on one counselling, compulsory attendance of a minimum of 1 AA meetings per week, support planning sessions (using outcomes star), attendance at anger management, relapse prevention, life skills and peer support groups and social and sporting activities.

The day to day running of the First Stage house is overseen by a London Housing Trust staff member and managed by a team of ex-residents.

Reasons of the Project

Street drinking “alcoholics” are very often marginalised by society and are largely hidden from view, out of work, struggling to find a roof and are often parted from their families. They live an existence that would be intolerable to most people and one of the most available escape routes is through a bottle of super strength (9%) or white cider (7.5%).

We recently asked 50 street alcoholics about their experiences with alcohol. Of those who would be to part (20),  50% said that they drink more than the weekly recommended safe units (21) of alcohol per day. Most had also been drinking for more than ten years and had developed a drinking problem in there early teenage years. All were on benefits,  (90%) received there benefit by personal issue and

We also asked them what were the reasons for their drinking behaviour. Some of the replies were; “stops me felling sick in the morning, stops me shaking, I don’t have to think about my problems, to get drunk.”

We asked those surveyed to tell us about the long term effects that they experienced. They told us about: “liver damage, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia,  high blood pressure, damage to heart and stomach (particularly in strong cider drinkers).

We also asked them about what they did differently as a result of drinking.  They described: “lack of motivation which had an effect of keeping appointments, increased aggressive behaviour, poor hygiene, inability to budget.”

Project Aims

1. Offer a stable environment where clients can stabilise their alcohol consumption before Detox

2. Provide a safe detox service to our clients

3. Move our clients on to supported accommodation within the community

Other Benefits

1.  Reduce the level of entrenched rough sleeping

2. Reduce the demand on local services (hospital, police)

3. Increase the number of clients that are ready for Detox/Rehab clinics

For information regarding our Half Way There and First Stage Projects contact:

Referral@www.aveshousing.org or [Contact us for more information…]