23 December 2010

Council Cuts Cornwall

Reports in the media suggest that at Cornwall Councils emergency budget meeting, today, the Supporting People budget could be cut by £5.6m - around 40% of their budget.  The Government have cut the grant to the Council by a much smaller 12%.

Regardless of the reports and today's meeting, it has already been decided that there will be no more funding for the Floating Support service provided accross Cornwall by Stonham Housing after 31st march.  Thats a quick saving of £3m, about 100 redundancies and huge numbers of vulnerable clients left without vital support to enable them to maintain their tennancies. 

No other services do this same job in Cornwall, and being surrounded on three sides by the sea, there are no similar services in neighbouring areas. 

The client group is wide ranging but includes drug users.  The Government's Drug Stategy acknowledges the important role Supporting People services play with this group, but this important Floating Support service can be wiped out locally in one hit.

Its clear that this quick saving will be a short term gain to the local authority and will probably cost them (or the tax payer) dearly over time, and cost other services like the NHS etc..

Other Supporting People services have yet to decided on but face 're-stucturing' at best. 

Things seem to go from bad to worse and can't even be entirely blamed on our new coalition government!

15 December 2010

If you are running winter provision for the Homeless - assess for overdose risk

It's going to be a very cold winter and, mercifully, emergency cold weather provision will be opened up around the UK to provide much needed respite for people who are homeless this winter. Such provision is, of course, a life saving intervention and is often provided on a shoe-string by voluntary organisations and faith-groups.

In order to make the provision still more safe and life-preserving, organisers should be able to assess and respond to people who are at risk of overdose. Early identification of people at risk, and intervening with education, support and staff awareness can help reduce the incidence of overdose, and reduce the risk of fatality in the event of overdose.

To assist this process, KFx developed the Housing Opiate Overdose Risk Assessment Tool (HOORAT). It is a simple assessment tool which can be completed with a resident to assess level of opiate-related overdose risk. The tool was originally developed a couple of years ago. Thanks to the support of Homelesslink it has been slightly ammended and the supporting notes have been expanded to make it more self-explanatory. It is being jointly promoted by KFx and Homelesslink as part of their Evictions and Abandonments project.

The tool will take less than five minutes to administer and can help identify residents most at risk of overdose. The document explores strategies for reducing this risk and how housing providers can ensure that they have interventions in place to address this risk.

HOORAT can be downloaded free of charge from the KFx-run Drugs and Housing Website