Blogs Reports

Where have the dry houses gone?


Reported by Charlie

Published on Friday, January 27th, 2023

Accommodation Recovery Substance Use Volunteering and Employment
Blogs Reports

Where have the dry houses gone?


Written by Charlie

Published on Friday, January 27th, 2023

Accommodation

Recovery

Substance Use

Volunteering and Employment

 

As far as I’m concerned the disappearance of dry houses is having a massive impact. For a majority of addicts dry houses are an essential part of recovery and to have someone’s recovery undone because they are slung thoughtlessly back in to the same place they were originally using is such a waste.

It may save money in the short term, but the financial and social costs are compounded in the long term. In many boroughs now there are no dry houses at all, largely because of Tory cuts in the last ten years and changes to government funding after Covid.

As with many of the cuts that have been made in the name of austerity, the disappearance of dry houses is not part of any sort of policy. It is madness to spend less money in the short term if your overall aim is to save money, when the saving of that money ends up meaning you will have to spend more money on the blue-lights in the long run. And when you start to consider that the extra money spent will be spent on cure rather than prevention, you start to realise just how messed up it is. 

“I’m grateful not to be living in some hostel where residents are allowed to drink or use drugs,” Peter from Bournemouth says. “The temptation would do my nut in. My track record says it all – I’ve been to rehab five times,” he says. Peter is being treated in Bournemouth because many councils, including Newham, where he is from, can no longer fund the type of  services he needs to stay clean. [1]

 13 out of 32 London boroughs have had no dry house provision for a decade. There are also none in Birmingham or across the whole of Scotland and Wales. Dry houses offer the opportunity for residents to access counselling, benefits, housing advice and help in looking for employment. This can be especially helpful when people are fresh out of rehab and prone to relapse.

There is plenty of proof that addicts who get effective wrap around support when they are in transition, be it from residential rehab to a dry house, or from a dry house to a one bedroom flat, are more likely to make their recovery stick. It is such as shame that we spend so much money getting people clean or moved on but then fail to spend that bit extra to make their recovery stick.

If people are placed from rehab in the same old shit hole they come from then they will inevitably start getting up to the same old shit again. They start taking drugs again, drinking again, shoplifting again, they get arrested and how much does it cost to get the blue lights out when they do? At some point people without a supporting environment  are more likely to get extremely ill and go to A and E . Again,  how much do these blue lights cosgt?  How much does it cost in the hospital? How much do the prescriptions cost?

There is no doubt that the costs of blue lights and crisis care wouldn’t be as great if you had sobriety houses and the support they offer people. And here is an example of this happening in real life to a real life mate of mine who was desperate to get in to rehab because he was living in supported accommodation next to a hostel and he couldn’t get away from the people he had been drinking with who lived in that hostel.

They were the only people he knew and they were coming round knocking on the door at 2 in the morning. He finally got himself in to rehab and did rehab all over Christmas. Unfortunately for him, he got housed back in the same place he had been in next to the hostel. He was determined to make it but it literally took 3 weeks for him to get right back into it again after he hadn’t touched a drop for 6 months. Soon the police were called to pick him after he blacked out. The cost of calling the police over and over again and the mounting medical costs in hospital far outweighed the cost of rehousing him somewhere where he stood a chance of staying sober.

 

SOURCES

1] Dry houses: what are they and why are they disappearing? INSIGHT by  DANIELLE AUMORD on Inside Housings website https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/insight/insight/dry-houses-what-are-they-and-why-are-they-disappearing-61474

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Charlie


Charlie Radbourne has more than six years, peer support and advocacy experience. Sitting on many service user forums and local authority committees. Due to mental health problems, coming under CMHT and the crisis team, Charlie spent eight months sleeping rough and in the local night shelter, then four years in a hostel / supported accommodation.

Read all of Charlie's articles

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Accommodation Recovery Substance Use Volunteering and Employment

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